I am thrilled to share with you another great guest post from Zara Lewis.
Every mom and teacher who has either experienced or witnessed traditional teaching methods in a typical classroom dreads the idea of forcing hours of repetitive, monotonous exercises on their kids for the sake of a skill they can develop naturally. Instead of a boring, seemingly endless hour of writing out a single letter for no apparent reason, there are plenty of ways to use your kids’ fine motor skills to perfect their handwriting. Guided by one of the primary principles of Charlotte Mason’s method which emphasizes the importance of self-education, you can create a rich learning environment for your child and inspire their curiosity, so they will naturally progress and enjoy the journey of learning.
Create a puppet theatre
One of the best ways to bring your child’s imagination to life is to let them create their own characters with hand puppets. Not only can they give them a unique voice, an ever-changing personality and a way to move around, but they also immerse themselves into a world of storytelling that will enrich their vocabulary, narration and their nimble little fingers.
Manoeuvring with a puppet requires plenty of dexterity, and it allows for a whole spectrum of finger
movements to happen within that little space. Whenever puppets speak, dance, hug, nod or laugh, kids use a specific set of finger contractions to make the story as vivid as possible, and strengthening their wrists and fingers is crucial for handwriting.
Start your cooking classes
The youngest of your toddlers will be more than happy with some flour, water, a few pots and pans and some basic utensils and create their own imaginary cooking set out of thin air. Then again, for slightly older kids who have seen you work your way through a bowl of cookie dough, this is a perfect opportunity to include them in a weekly session of family cooking activities.
Holding the pots, rolling the batter, mixing a paste, beating eggs, or using various shapes to cut out cookies before baking, adding chocolate crumbs and other edible decorations – these are all perfect for developing strong, flexible hands, it will help them develop a strong grip and more control over the pencil, so writing will soon become a breeze.
Bring out their inner Picasso
Instead of giving your kids a plain colouring book and a pack of crayons, you can turn their painting time into an adventure with just a few minor changes. From all-natural face paints, versatile colouring pencils and water colors, smaller and larger canvases of different shades, glittery decorations, glue and other items such as buttons, leaves, pebbles, strings and gems, and you can inspire your kids to create true masterpieces.
Don’t be surprised if they lose track of time with these activities, because they do not realize how these fun artsy sessions translate to learning handwriting. Such complex movements will allow them to improve their hand-eye coordination, handle two objects independently and strengthen their fingers. Moreover, painting lets them explore their emotions and imagination, and find an authentic way to express themselves through art.
Encourage their craftsmanship
Although kids will always enjoy drawing and painting, if you add another, practical element to their efforts, they might end up appreciating their art even more. For instance, team up with your little ones to outline homemade postcards, birthday cards, play cards and invitations with colourful permanent markers, and then let them cut out the outlined shapes before decorating them further. Handling scissors and following lines and different shapes is yet another excellent way to add versatility into your kids’ daily playtime. As soon as they learn to hold the scissors properly, they will start using the same three fingers to boost their handwriting quality and endurance in no time.
Make the most of playdough
If anything can combine perfectly the intricacies of cooking with the rainbow palette of vivid hues, it’s playdough! Such a simple, yet inspiring tool is an ideal source of fun and learning for kids and grownups alike. It offers a virtually endless list of wonderful, fun hand movements such as squishing, squeezing, twisting, tearing, poking and rolling, plus a whole range of mixing and matching with other materials from nature and your kitchen cabinet. Even as brief as ten minutes, a playdough session will improve your kids’ palm and finger strength, as well as their focus and imagination. All of that will serve them in mastering handwriting, not only from an aesthetic viewpoint, but also from a very practical perspective, as such complex activities are perfect for boosting proper hand posture and finger placement in writing.
Perhaps the most wonderful aspect of these activities is that your children will never feel pressured or forced to master anything. They will always serve as incredible, playful ways of mastering lifelong skills, and they will help you nurture your kids’ imagination, natural intelligence and their innate ability to turn even the most ordinary days into learning-filled adventures.
family and friends. She loves to share her parenting tips and is always open to learning some new skills, because she sees her parenthood as going to school forever. She enjoys traveling, hiking, cycling and baking.”