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How to help with writing WITHOUT a pencil

Phonics is amazing. Fine motor skills are essential. But did you know that shoulder strength and flexibility are vital for writing?


Have you ever watched a child writing?

💪🏼Look at their elbows:

Children with good shoulder control keep their elbow close to the body when writing or drawing. Those that need more practise tend to have the elbow out and away from the body.

📝Look at their writing:

For some children, they make fainter than expected marks on the paper when writing. This is because coordination is needed from the shoulder to the elbow to be able to control the pressure placed on the pencil.

👂🏼Listen to what they say:

Sometimes these children describe writing as ‘boring’, ‘hard’ or ‘uncomfortable’ because even though they have all the ideas and know the sounds, writing is more challenging for them.


In terms of shoulder development, any activity where they press, especially overhead, will help.

Here are 5 activities to get you started:


Roller painting - using a painting roller, add water and encourage them to paint the fence or wall.




Obstacle Course - crawling under or through things using their arms to pull them through.




Pike Press - facing towards the ground, hands on the floor, feet on the bed or sofa.



Crab Walks - facing upwards, hands under shoulders, core squeezed and lifted.




Ball up the wall - two hands on a ball, roll it upwards above head, zig zag down etc.


To watch a video of each follow this link: https://www.instagram.com/reel/Cm7J2xMofDw/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

The activities in the video are a great place to start and can be enjoyed from any age, even way before children start formally writing.


Share this with a friend if you've learned something new💫


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