Before starting to work on letter formation, joins or even the pre-handwriting patterns it is a good idea to help focus the body on the activity that it is about to perform in a fun and relaxed way.
The exercises only take a couple of minutes to do. Not only can they be done at the beginning of the session but throughout and at the end to help relax muscles and release tense that may build up over the session. Tense muscles can make handwriting difficult and make a child tire more quickly in the writing activity being tried.
Five areas to support the body with handwriting are covered in the warm up activities:
Shoulder Stability & Strength
Crossing the Mid-line
Wrist Strength & Flexibility
Thumb and Finger Strength & Dexterity
Whole Hand Strength & Dexterity
Try to do one exercise from each of the groups before starting handwriting. During or after a handwriting task and depending on the area of the body which a child may say is aching or tired use another exercise from the appropriate group. For instance, if they say their shoulders or neck are aching try the ‘Chair Push’ exercise from the Shoulder Stability section.
A set of 6 different warm up exercises have been created for you to use but you can use them in any way you like and introduce your own. Use whatever suits you and the child best, just remember to try and have one exercise from each group. You may find that certain exercises are best done a little while after a child has started writing and/or at the end of the session, this is perfectly fine, it is about what is best for the child!
Remember tense muscles can make handwriting hard work and will tire a child more quickly.
Handwriting warm up exercises
Handwriting warm up program and games
Handwriting warm up games - Whole hand activities
Handwriting warm up games - Thumb and finger strength activities
Handwriting warm up games - Wrist strength activities
Handwriting warm up games - Crossing the mid-line activities
Handwriting warm up games - Shoulder stability activities