Headstart for Life

Hi! Welcome to Beyond Therapy, HeadStart for Life’s blog to enrich your parenting journey with your little ones.

Watching your child grow is one of the most treasured experience in parents’ life. But I am sure all the parents will agree that this journey is full of anxious, stressful moments! Right from whether I am holding my baby the right way, to – is my child meeting the developmental milestones, are we doing enough as parents to help child achieve his/her potential? Parenting is full of self-doubts, peppered with these kinds of questions. I will attempt to address 2 frequent questions in my blog today.

What is the right age to give a pencil or a crayon to my child?

When should my child write legibly?

Before Writing…



Handwriting is a fine motor activity. Hence, it is important that kids develop fine motor skills before starting to write. But for kids to be able to sit and write, it is equally important they have developed a strong core to sit straight and support themselves, which means they need to have developed the gross motor skills. They need a strong neck to support their head, strong shoulders to allow the wrist and arm movement and strength in their fingers to grasp and hold the objects. As an adult who need not think before writing, we do not realise how many parts of our body need to work together to be able to write fluently.

Writing involves dexterity of fingers and precise movement of wrist and hand. Kids need to develop hand-eye coordination, to be able to trace and copy simple lines or shapes and eventually develop the visual perception necessary to read from left to right. Just like all the other development of kids, there is no specific age or pre-defined formula to say when a child will develop these skills. Typically, from the age of 2 years, kids start showing interest in holding the pencils or crayons and start to scribble on the paper. Here is a typical developmental sequence as kids begin to explore the writing skills:

Image Courtesy: https://www.growinghandsonkids.com/basics-pre-writing-activities-skills-kids

Image Courtesy: https://www.growinghandsonkids.com/basics-pre-writing-activities-skills-kids

How can you help with the Fine Motor Development?

As kids begin to develop the dexterity of their fingers, there are simple activities and manipulatives that can help them develop the fine motor skills, which will eventually help them with writing.

1. Playing With Shaving Foam


Spray the shaving foam in a tray, spread it evenly and allow your child to draw lines, shapes, doodles using their finger. This also provides sensory stimulation for a child.

2. Using the Sand Trays


Just like shaving foam, take a tray full of sand and allow a child to doodle in the sand tray.

With both foam and sand, you can start with lines, shapes and slowly progress to alphabets and numbers. Some kids do not like to write with pencil but they find writing in foam/sand as an extension of play.

3. LEGO Blocks


One of the most common and favorite children’s toys! Simply interlocking the blocks together and pulling them apart provides exercise for fingers, strengthening their grip.

4. Pegs or Clothes Pins


Another very commonly found household item! You don’t have to ask the kids to hang your laundry – simply give them a plate or a cardboard and ask them to put the pegs on the board and then remove them. It’s simple and yet very effective finger and hand-eye coordination exercise!

5. Jigsaw Puzzles


Manipulating the puzzle pieces and assembling the jigsaw puzzle not just requires the fine motor skills but it also improves the brain-hand-eye coordination. Your eyes see the piece, brain envisions how the puzzle should look and where the piece should fit and your hands execute the final action of placing it in a right place.

These are just some of the activities you can expose your child to. You will be amazed to find number of activities in your daily life, which can provide the necessary stimulation to develop the fine motor skills – like kneading the dough, lacing through the holes, snipping the paper. So, go ahead and explore the options around you for your little one. The experience will be well worth a treasure in your memory book and will make meaningful difference in your child’s development. And once they are ready, they will grab a pencil or a crayon and start creating their master pieces.

I will conclude with a quick reference for you on how all the little Picassos typically progress with their pencil grip.

Image Courtesy: https://www.growinghandsonkids.com/pencil-grasp-development-for-writing.html

Image Courtesy: https://www.growinghandsonkids.com/pencil-grasp-development-for-writing.html

But please remember – it’s just a reference! Your child may not necessarily follow these steps, so don’t worry and just enjoy their art work.

Thank you for reading my blog today and please do visit again – we will build on these building blocks and continue with the journey of writing.



Basics of Pre-Writing Activities and Skills for Kids, Heather Greutman [growinghandsonkids.com]

Why Puzzles Are Good for Your Child’s Development, Pam Myers [childdevelopmentinfo.com]



"All the information on this site is for educational purposes only and does not replace the assessment and intervention of a registered speech-language pathologist, occupational therapist or any other medical or education professional."

About Vrishali

Vrishali has been working with kids with special needs for the last few years. She strongly believes that every child has a spark and it takes care and patience to find and allow that spark to ignite. She enjoys working with young kids and loves the challenges and the joys associated with their ever-amusing inquisitive minds.

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