When children start learning how to write, their pens and pencils become vitally important. Young children are developing coordination, fine motor skills and building muscle strength. This means that standard pencils, which are thin and light, are difficult for them to use. Adult supervision and guidance, whether from teachers or parents, can help correct writing, however it is important for children to develop good handwriting habits on their own. As children learn their letters and how to write, you can help them by providing the right writing tools so they can write better. The addition or change in writing tools can sometimes provide vast, long-lasting improvement in handwriting. Once your child grows older, muscles become more developed, and proper handwriting habits have been established, they can always go back to using standard pens and pencils. But until then, there are a number of tools that can help your child write better, we have sorted them by the following categories:
With their smaller hands and developing muscles, many children will face difficulties when using pens and pencils designed for adult hands. If your child is gripping the pencil incorrectly, holding the pencil at the top, or a combination of the two, perhaps it’s time to consider purchasing specialty pencils designed for children. These are some of the best childrens’ pencils that you can purchase for your child:
At only 4’5” long, these thick triangular pencils from LYRA are ideal for writing beginners. The short length teaches children to hold the bottom of the pencil, and the triangular shape helps with finger positioning. Made of unlacquered wood, these pencils are solid enough to withstand being tossed around by children. Sold in a pack of 6, parents have noted that it can be difficult to find a suitable pencil sharpener.
If you don’t need triangular pencils, these pencils are a round, 13/32” thick, standard length pencil. In other words, these are just thicker, regular HB pencils. The soft, HB lead makes the pencils durable and less prone to breaking. A great transition from children’s pencils to standard writing tools, these My First Pencils are also yellow, making them great for kids who want “adult pencils.”
Aside from learning to write, another hallmark of children growing older is graduating from crayons to colored pencils. Drawing and coloring are extra opportunities for children to practice hand control and pencil grip. Octagonal in shape, and thicker and shorter than regular pencils, this Crayola set of 8 is designed specifically for children starting out with pencils. Soft lead, which marks and shows easily, means children can easily exert pressure whilst maintaining their grip.
Aside from buying childrens’ pencils, an alternative is to buy separate grips to attach onto existing pencils. Even if your child is shaping letters correctly, it is important to make sure they are using correct pencil grip. Incorrect pencil grip can not only result in poor handwriting, but also lead to cramping, calluses, and eyesight and posture problems. It may be difficult for children to remember how to hold the pencil correctly, which is why many teachers and therapists will recommend specialty pencil grips. Even after children have mastered a proper writing grip, they can still continue to use these pencil grips for general writing comfort.
One of the most popular pencil grips on the market, the Ergonomic Writing Aid is designed for both left and right handed writers. Invented by an educational therapist, this grip slides easily onto any pencil. When writing, children simply align their thumb with the “L” or “R” on the grip depending on whether they are left or right handed, and the rest of their fingers will fall into place. Even when children have developed proper grip, this grip can still be used for comfort when writing for extended periods of time.
This set of 9 pencil grips are designed for two stages of pencil holding development. The L-shaped grip is for beginners, as the extra grip sticking out from the pencil provides something for the rest of the fingers to hold onto. Once children have the posture down, the second stage grips, shaped like colorful fish and dolphins, will help children remember the position, and prevent them from moving their grip further up or down the pencil.
A slightly different grip that includes sleeves for each finger, this writing aid is also suited for both left and right-handed writers. Children fit their thumb and forefinger into the dents on the front of the grip, and slip their middle finger into the ring on the back. Sold in a pack of 4, these grips are made from a soft, non-toxic eco-friendly silicone.
Frequently recommended by occupational therapists, weighted pens and pencils are good for children who write too light, have trouble focusing pressure on small areas, or have motor skill difficulties.
This pencil weight set comes in a pack of 3, with o-rings for positioning anywhere on a pen or pencil. These are ideal if you prefer to modify existing writing tools, or if you want to test how effective an added weight is for your child. The weights are made from a metal material, making them a hard material that can be loud when put down.
If you’re after a writing tool weight and grip for non-standard sized writing tools, this Kinsman Enterprises grip is suited for small hands. At ⅜” diameter, this grip makes the writing tool thicker and adds an additional weight. As the grip is designed to fit pens, pencils, crayons, paint brushes etc., assembly is slightly more complex, and you will need to attach or change the grip for your child. The grip is sold with an allen wrench to adjust three screws and secure the writing tool, so it is too complex to be constantly swapping it out.
An alternative to weighted writing tools is attaching weights to your child’s hand. Aside from assisting with pressure focus, these palm weights will also help with writing posture, especially if your child tends to lift their wrist or arm while writing. The weight sits across the knuckles and is strapped to the hand at the wrist and across the palm, enabling uninhibited use of all fingers.
These particular palm weights are a ¼ pound and fit the right hand, this product is also available with heavier weights and for the left hand.
Sometimes it takes trial and error to figure out which of these specialty pencils or tools will be most useful for your child. Have you tried any of these tools to help your child write better? Let us know which ones worked best for you!