By the age of two years old most children are able to pick things up using a pincer grip, in other words their forefinger and thumb or those two fingers with a bit of support from their middle finger. Despite this a lot of children will still prefer to use a full fist (a palmer grasp) for most things and often (frustratingly) for mark making with crayons and pencils. I say frustratingly because sometimes, as a parent or practitioner, it is frustrating. You see the child using a pincer grip all the time during play but when it comes to holding a crayon they completely revert to a palmer grasp or an even stranger way of holding their pencil. You can find the names of all of the pencil grips and some scientific background here.
What is the most likely reason for this is that they just aren’t ready. A child might be capable of using a pincer grip when they choose to but it may be that it isn’t actually comfortable for them to sustain it. In order to be ready to write children need to first develop the strength and movement in their larger muscles – in this case their back (for posture), shoulder, elbow and wrist. They also need to build the strength and control in their hand and fingers along with their hand-eye coordination. Drawing is a far more involved developmental step than you would presume. There are all sorts of activities that you can do to build these muscles and dexterity up. Playdough is a great start and then plasticine (which is harder and offers more resistance so needs more strength and dexterity). Spraying water from spray bottles or any toys that allow children to exert pressure are great helps. For fine motor skills anything where a child can use their fingers to manipulate tiny objects work well, as do child construction kits or nuts and bolts. For an endless number of fine motor activities look up “Finger Gym” on Pinterest. You can also search for gross motor activities.
Here are some Playbalu toys that help to develop the skills needed to support your child as an artist and writer…
Read more from Dulcinea at https://magicalmess.weebly.com/