Handwriting can be difficult for children with fine motor and sensory processing difficulties. For this reason, it may soon become a non-preferred activity. This makes it really tough to get kids to engage in handwriting tasks without seeing undesirable behaviors like whining, defiance, or avoidance altogether. One of the best ways to remedy this problem is to make it fun! A great way to make handwriting fun is by turning it into a game.
Kids love to play games. Make handwriting a game by using foam dice from the Dollar Tree. I love these dice because they are so versatile. The sides have a laminated surface that allows you to customize them as you’d like. Use a dry-erase marker to write commands on each side of the die. Each command corresponds to the skill the child or children need to work on. For example, letter placement skills or where to place letters on the line. “4 tall letters, 5 short letters, 3 “diver” or go under letters, etc. The kids are asked to roll the die and write whatever it lands on. You can make it simple or more challenging based on the level the child or children are at. Perfect for doing during therapy sessions, as a class, or at home. All the supplies can be gathered for pennies on the dollar at your local Dollar Tree.
- visual tracking and scanning
- orientation (making sure letters are facing the correct direction on the dice)
- eye-hand coordination
- proprioception/grading force (mainly when tossing the dice)
- left to right progression
- targeted handwriting legibility components
- turn taking
- executive functioning skills (waiting/impulse control, remembering multi-step directions, initiating and following through with the task
Dollar Tree Supplies Needed:
dry erase markers/pencils
paper of your choice (dependent on the child’s skill level)
plastic sleeve (if using dry erase markers)
- Decide which component of handwriting legibility you’d like to address, e.g., letter formation, letter placement/line orientation, reversals, etc. If letter formation, write letters on the dice. If the child needs to work on specific letters, write those letters on the dice, e.g., “magic c” letters/letters that begin with “c .”If letter placement, write the type of letter on the dice and add a number to represent how many.
- Set up the game with the materials needed, dice, markers or pencils, and paper.
- Have the child/children roll the die or dice.
- Have the child follow the command on the die.
- Multiple players take turns.
Check it out:
Where did I find the paper and dry-erase sleeve used during this activity? Here are the links:
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How To Offer the “Just Right” Challenge:
It’s so easy to grade this task up or down. Here’s how:
Grade Down (Make it Easier)
- Provide a model of the alphabet.
- Have the child trace the letter first, then try to copy it.
- use blank paper versus lined paper to allow for larger letters
- If the child needs more movement to stay engaged, have the child write on an easel instead of paper.
Grade Up (Make it Harder)
Write these commands on the dice:
- Write a 3 letter word
- Write a word containing a short letter.
- Write a word containing a “diver”/go under letter.
- write a capital letter
- write a lowercase letter
- Write a certain number of sentences
You really can customize this game in so many ways, be creative!
Time To Play!
As always, have fun!
The Fun Strokes blog is designed for educational and informational use only for teachers, therapists, and parents. It is not intended as medical advice or therapeutic treatment that would be provided in an individualized treatment plan. If you suspect a child has delays, please consult an occupational therapist.