Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Six Ways to Celebrate National Handwriting Day!

January 23rd is National Handwriting Day! We all know the importance of handwriting!  After all, 30-60% of a child's day at school is spent handwriting!  In addition, research shows that handwriting instruction benefits students' cognitive and motor development.  Other literature shows that four year olds who exhibit strong handwriting skills are more likely to succeed academically in elementary school.

Handwriting extends beyond the walls of the classroom! At home, children may write in journals, on grocery lists or even to create a birthday wish list!  And, let's not forget about Valentine's Day, which is right around the corner.  Twenty-eight signatures on those cute little cards can be quite daunting for some of our kids! Like most things in life, practice is the key!  Experts recommend 15 minutes of handwriting instruction and practice per day.  I wouldn't recommend pushing a child beyond that 15 minute limit.  As well, I always say, motivation moves mountains, so make handwriting fun!

Try these six ways to celebrate the day!  And remember, a little practice each day, goes a long way!

1.  Surprise a family member with a special note!  Tape it to the cereal box, or use a dry erase marker to write one on a mirror. Window markers and crayons are fun, too! For something different, write on aluminum foil with a Sharpie!

2.  Practice your autograph using a variety of writing tools- gel crayons, chalk, charcoal crayons, pastels, markers.

3.  Sculpt a masterpiece with Playdoh or clay and then write a few descriptions about it.

4.  Write a book- have fun being both the author and the illustrator.

5.  Send a note to a cousin, grandparent or a pen-pal.   Embellish it with stickers or a Wikki Stix border.

6.  Save a tree- practice spelling words or letters in media such as:  cornmeal, flour, insta-snow, shaving cream or a baggie of hair gel.  Use a skewer or push pin to write in Playdoh.

Share how you're celebrating National Handwriting Day!

Michelle Yoder, OTR/L

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