The famous teacher Vasily Sukhomlinsky wrote: “The origins of the abilities and talents of children are at their fingertips …”. It has long been known that the development of fine motor skills is the development of the corresponding parts of the brain, training of muscular memory, perseverance and attention, preparation for learning to write. But here it is important not to miss the moment and it was easy to do everything necessary to study the kid in elementary school.
Vladimir Bekhterev offered to teach children to hold the pencil correctly from one and a half to 2 years – otherwise, in his opinion, grapomotor skills (movements of the writing hand) could be incorrectly fixed and the potential abilities fade away. When does it really need to be done?
The formation of hand movements begins gradually over the first six months of the child’s life: the arm, tightly clenched into a cam, straightens, the fingers try to perform the simplest movements of grabbing objects. However, before the child’s pen begins to look like an adult’s hand with its actions, it takes quite some time.
From 10–11 months to a year, the actions become functional: the child tries to use the object for its intended purpose. During this period, the actions of the hands are improved: the cam has opened, the fingers act more independently.
In the second year, the baby does not just manipulate objects, but wants to find out what actions can be performed with them.
The third year is determined by the fact that the child actively and purposefully begins to use objects as intended and to experiment with them. Hands of a child in constant motion, in work.
At the age of four years, the child is in kindergarten – among the many games and didactic materials. With his hands he begins to master the sensory “standards”: the magnitude, length, shape, structure of the surfaces.
The kid goes from sensation to perception, from perception to presentation, from presentation to understanding.
In the fifth year of life, previously acquired skills are improved, new interests appear. The kid with pleasure demonstrates crafts made with his own hands and tells how they were done.
If a child’s hand was developed from birth, then he improves his “manual” skills: he masters more complex ways of folding, bending, winding and pouring, uses cloth, paper, wire, foil, utility and natural materials, uses various tools and materials. An attractive lesson is writing stencils of numbers and letters.
This is the last step in preparing your hand for writing.
Writing is one of the most difficult processes that a little man has to learn. The ability to write requires not only the good development of small muscles of the arm, coordination of movements, but also plodding, patience. The development of these particular skills should be given special attention before proceeding to the writing of capital letters, syllables and words.
The better to prepare the child’s hand for the letter, the easier it will be for him to later master the process. What can help you?
- Games on the development of tactile perception “train” the sensitivity of the fingers, helping them learn to determine such qualities of the object as softness and hardness, shape, weight, temperature, texture. The child’s “recognition” of objects by touch further makes it possible to hold the brush correctly, adjust the grip strength and improve muscle tone, which makes hand movements more accurate.
- Massage is a type of gymnastics. It has a tonic effect on the muscular system, increasing the elasticity and contractility of the muscles. Hand massage contributes to the removal of motor tension of the muscles of the hands and develops the flexibility and mobility of the fingers.
- Finger games play a special role in the development of fine motor skills. Finger games are the staging of rhymed stories and fairy tales with the help of fingers. They allow you to adjust the movements of each finger individually and relative to each other, train the accuracy of motor responses, develop dexterity, the ability to control your movements, and concentrate on one type of activity. Finger games seem to reflect the reality of the world around – objects, animals, people, their activities, natural phenomena. In the course of finger games, children, repeating the movements of adults, activate the motility of the hands.
- Work with the designer and the mosaic is also aimed at improving the coordination of hand movements and the development of touch. Details of the mosaic and the designer come in different shapes of size and color. At first, you can offer your child simple tasks (sorting mosaic parts by color, size or shape, laying out horizontal or vertical tracks, simple patterns), then learning how to build images on a pattern and independently.
- Claying clay, plasticine and dough well develop fine motor skills, strengthens the muscles of the fingers, produces “thin” hand movements, reinforces the skills of tactile examination (in the process of modeling it is always necessary to knead, roll or flatten something).
- Drawing improves the coordination of movements of the fingers and hand, helps to overcome the uncertainty and stiffness of movements. This activity is very useful and loved by all children! After all, you can draw in different materials and ways – on paper, cardboard, snow, sand, misted window and asphalt. You can ask the baby to circle the stencil or transfer the image through a tracing paper, paint it or draw it yourself.
- Physical exercises are well trained small muscles of the hand. They are based on grasping movements and the dosage of the strength of the hand and contribute to the development of precision movements. Here are some examples of such activities.
- Roll them between your palms, using them as a massager;
- “Sticky” curlers cling to each other – it turns out “designer”;
- from soft and bending curlers lay out letters, numbers, figures.
Glove games. Sew a cloth stick on the glove so that your thumb can stick to the rest.
Alternately “stick” the thumb to the rest of the fingers.
“Dry pool” . Fill a large container with cereal, beans, peas, beans, pasta, plastic jams, caps from markers, etc. Have your child put his hands in the pool and let him find the small toys hidden there.
Games with spools of thread
- Roll the coils in your palms;
- wind the thread around the bobbin.
Games with socks
- Fill small socks (or pouches) with different grains. Let crumb crush them with one finger, two and the whole palm. Such an activity is well suited for the development of tactile sensations;
- sew large beads on the socks, put the resulting massager on your hand and lead them along the palm (back) of the child.
Games with toothbrushes. Rub the toothbrush of each finger first, and then slowly go down to its base. At the very end, massage the whole palm.
Games with buttons, beads
- Show the little one how to string large beads and buttons on the line, alternating between them;
- play skiers: put your index and middle fingers into the recess of large buttons and move around the table, imitating the skier’s walking.
Lace games. Offer the child colorful bright laces: let him tie them, weave them, lay out figures, letters and numbers on the table.
Before showing your child how to write letters, you must first teach him how to properly hold in his hand what he will do with it – a pencil, pen, felt-tip pen. You can start with 2-2.5 years, when the child can already fix and memorize the correct position of the hand.
There are several simple and effective ways that allow the child to master the correct position of the fingers and hand for further writing.
The first one is specially designed pencil tips. Thanks to them, it’s simply impossible to take a pencil!
Such “simulators” are for both right-handers and left-handers. Such nozzles can be found in various colors and in the form of animals or cartoon heroes.
The second is exercise. For example, ask the child to hold the napkin with the ring finger and little finger, and take a pencil with free fingers – the correct grip is formed in a natural way. An option for the little ones: offer the crumbs to “put” a pencil to sleep.
What are we doing? Put a pencil in the “crib” – on the middle finger, under the “pad” under the head – the index finger, and on top of the “duvet” – the thumb.
The third is the use of triangular pens and pencils, which, thanks to their shape, allow children’s fingers to take a natural and correct position (grasp a pencil from three sides). If we talk about the thickness of the pencil, then the younger the child, the thicker the pencil should be.
The skill of writing is just beginning to take shape, and it is much more difficult to keep a thin rod (and even less to manipulate it!).
How to determine at preschool age, is the child’s hand ready to write? The accuracy of graphic actions depends on the development of fine motor skills, dexterity of the fingers and hands, and the coordination of their movements. The development of small movements of the fingers can be judged by watching the child draw or paint over the details of the drawing.
For example, if he constantly rotates the sheet, that is, he cannot change the direction of the lines with the help of subtle movements of the fingers and hand, it means that the fingers are weakly developed. Svetlana Voronina, a methodologist, and Lyudmila Nogina, a psychologist at the Miracle Garden (St. Petersburg) psychologist, offer to conduct simple tests.
Willingness to write can be assessed by conducting tests at home.
- Have the child shade the shape or contour image of the object. Normally: strokes should be even, parallel, spaced from each other at the same distance, not beyond the boundaries of the image.
- Offer him to color the subject in the picture.
Normally: strokes should be smooth, made with medium pressure, without gaps, taking into account the outlines of the boundaries.
- Suggest to continue the specified pattern in a notebook with a large cage.
Normally: the child sees the cage, its size, the task is carried out carefully, strictly according to the sample, and in the presence of an inclination it also makes an inclination.
You can start learning to write with ordinary strokes or sticks, which the child will draw on a clean sheet of paper as he wants. No need to try to control the shape and size of the squiggle!
Let the crumb get used to the position of the hand, which is necessary for writing, and learns to control its movements. Gradually, you can move on to drawing “patterns” on a lined sheet of paper — such an exercise perfectly coaches the eye and helps to form a sense of line boundaries.
In the future in the development of the first written skills will help you:
Coloring pictures is one of the most favorite activities of children. Coloring books can be offered to a child from the age of three.
It is only necessary to select them according to the age of the child, his interests and preferences. The younger the crumb, the larger should be the pictures that he will paint. When his hand has mastered the elementary movements necessary for coloring, complicate the task.
For example, show how you can paint a picture using the hatching method, and have your child do it yourself. Let it shade the details of the picture with an inclination to the left, right, top to bottom, bottom to top, from the center to the edge and vice versa.
It is useful to draw with the child images that combine different lines: vertical, horizontal, straight, wavy. Try to connect graphic elements (with the help of arcs, lines, zigzags) and draw ornaments, patterns.
This is a good exercise for training the eye and the development of the skill of uniform movement of the hand on the paper.
Work with children’s letters well complements the lessons with colorings. In such notebooks, instead of letters, the child is invited to circle different shapes, outlines, images, curls and dashes.
At the age of 5–6 years, it is already possible to start learning to typewriting. Here it is important to explain in detail and show the child in which sequence the elements of the letters are written, with what proportions.
It is best to start with the simplest letters (“o”, “c”, “a”, “l”), gradually moving to more complex writing. Fix the skill by regularly asking the child to write his name (for example, on notebooks, educational books and magazines, etc.), sign the card to his sister, grandmother, aunt, etc.
Starting to teach a child to write, tune in to the fact that not everything will turn out right away. Most likely, the success at first will be modest: the children squeeze a pencil during writing and the fingers get tired very quickly.
Do not force your child to write for too long and regularly (in 3-5 minutes) do relaxation exercises (squeeze and relax your fingers several times, slightly massage your forearms and hands). Do not scold the child and do not compare his achievements with the successes of other children.
Having repulsed the hunt for learning in this way, it will be simply impossible to teach him to write in the future. Save all the children’s work and after a while compare the results, noting the clear progress.
Elena Razukhina, teacher of the Aristotle educational center, teacher of the Art of the Word program for schoolchildren, head of the educational department of preschool and junior schoolchildren at the Aristotle educational center
Should I start teaching a preschooler to capital letters? Some will say: “Yes, it will be easier at school.”
Others will say: “No, it is still early.” How to proceed?
Of course, it is necessary to develop the movements of the writing hand (and learn to write), but first the child must learn, put the graphic image of the printed letters in his memory. Capital letters are much more complex elements for the unprepared perception and the unprepared hand of the baby.
With a child of older preschool age, who already knows how to print letters in pencil, you can deal with writing-coloring, in which there are some elements of capital letters, and use a notebook in a ruler.
There is one more thing explaining why you should not go straight to a full letter. Mastering each specific letter on paper, you must strictly follow the rule of its writing and connection with other letters. Few parents know or remember what these rules are.
Imagine such a situation. You have already taught the child how to connect letters to each other and write words, and in the first grade the teacher will otherwise explain to him how the letter “o” is connected with the letter “b” (or “o” with “m”).
For first-graders, the teacher’s assessment of his work plays a big role, and here he learns that he is writing incorrectly. Of course, extra experiences will follow. Who needs it?
It is better to directly in the course of training in the first class to clarify with the teacher which prescriptions to purchase for classes at home, and slowly, after school, practice with the child. In addition, children who have learned to write too early often lose their handwriting due to the fact that the arm has not yet been trained and is quickly tired.