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The Smaller The Better

When young children are first learning to scribble/draw/color, the whole hand is involved in grasping the writing tool.  As their fine motor skills develop, a mature pencil grasp begins to emerge whereby the tools are “pinched” by the thumb and index finger; commonly referred to as a pincer grasp.  Although a pincer grasp can be seen in children as young as 10 months of age, translating this to pencil grasp comes at a later time (usually 3.5 years of age).  Short writing tools are a great way to assist in the development of a functional pencil grasp.  The short size provides a limited surface for the fingers to grasp, making it impossible to fist the tool with the entire hand and revert back to early grasp patterns.

Short writing tools are quite accessible, and can often be created using craft supplies that you already have in your home.  Below are some examples, but please do not consider this an exhaustive list – be creative!

  • Broken Crayons
  • Chalk Bits
  • Golf Sized Pencils
  • Mini Highlighters
  • Small Puffy Paint Tubes
  • Crayola® Pip Squeaks Small Size Markers
  • Bencils™ Stackable Pencils 

Coloring and drawing is an activity that many children enjoy, and is also a great way to enhance the development of fine motor skills.  So don’t throw away those broken crayons or little chalk bits – these short writing tools are beneficial in more ways than one.  Hopefully after reading this post, you have a better appreciation for the philosophy “less is more”.

Jordana Schwarz, MSc.OT., OT Reg. (Ont.)

About Jordana Schwarz, MSc.OT., OT Reg. (Ont.)

Jordana is a certified Occupational Therapist who received a Master of Science degree in Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy from the University of Toronto and an Honour’s Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from the University of Western Ontario. Jordana is a member in good standing of the College of Occupational Therapists of Ontario (COTO) and the Ontario Society of Occupational Therapists (OSOT).

Learn more about Jordana Schwarz, MSc.OT., OT Reg. (Ont.)

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