Here are some activities I have done with my children that help develop pencil grip and writing skills.
1. Model with clay such as Play dough-make your own -dough or you can buy it almost anywhere.
Kneading and grabbing the clay helps develop the muscles in the hands and fingers. Also, you can use a small wooden dowel or rolling ping to roll out the dough. Small,cut-up straws, toothpicks, small buttons, pipe cleaners, pasta and bits can be used in the clay sculptures. Picking up these small objects helps with pencil grip.
(Use a cutting board for clay activities, it is much easier for your child to scrape and clean -use a bread scaper or small putty knife to clean the board)
I usually introduce plasticine after playdough. Plasticine is much more difficult to
manipulate, but it works great to strengthen finger and hand muscles.
2. Pick up small objects such as marbles and pennies. Picking up small objects helps with eye to hand coordination and pencil grip.
Games such as Pick up Sticks work well for this.
3. Finger painting-a child uses his or her finger tips and feels the shapes of the created masterpiece
Here’s an easy finger paint recipe.
Or you can use whipped cream or shaving cream with a few drops of food coloring. Your child can write letters, numbers and make shapes with finger paint.
Finger painting is a smooth version of sandpaper letters.
4. Trace objects
Trace simple pictures from a coloring book with transparent tracing paper. Go the Crayola crayon site for great free images or this link for coloring book prints
To prevent the papers from slipping, I usually tape the picture onto the table and put the tracing paper over the picture.
I then secure the tracing paper with tape.
5. Cutting paper
1. Let your child fringe a border on easy to cut paper.
2. Cut a straight line next.
3. Cut a line with a curve.
4. Cut out various shapes, such as a circle, triangle, square, and rectangle
5. Cut out paper figures and images such as paper dolls, numbers, letters, and pictures from magazines or coloring books.