8 Helpful Activities For Improving Pencil Grip In Kids - Number Dyslexia (2022)

At a time when our life is driven by technology, and we are typing on devices most of the time, talking about writing grips may feel less important. But there are instances when writing the conventional way is mandatory. For example, in school, holding the pen or pencil the right way improves the child’s handwriting and also makes it less stressful on the hand. To keep children interested in the art of handwriting some fun activities can be conducted by the educator.

When we write or draw, the muscles in our fingers, hands, wrists, and arms contract and extend to move the pencil across the writing surface. Our writing movements are controlled by vision and proprioception. Addressing this unique act of pencil gripping, in the post, we will discuss everything about pencil grip activities that you ought to know to help your kid with writing. Have a look below.

Pencil grip for Kids: Purpose explored

Pencil grip for kids is a crucial step of learning as it helps them to write using their sensory, neuro, and abstract skills to develop hand, eye, and brain coordination. This act helps kids learn to spell and tutor them on how to write, read and think simultaneously. But to concur with all this, it is important to know how to hold a pencil.

Most people use one of these four pencil grips while writing:

  • Dynamic Tripod
  • Lateral Tripod
  • Dynamic Quadropod
  • Lateral Quadropod

Although there is no correct or incorrect pencil grasp, it is imperative to know to hold one and feel comfortable in it in order to pursue a seamless flow of writing. The aim of a proper pencil grasp is to be able to hold and use the pencil in a way that is not tiring and the child is able to carry out the writing tasks appropriate for his/her age comfortably.

A good pencil grip aids in developing legibility and speed.When a child’s handwriting is poor, it is possible that an incorrect grip of the pencil may be practiced by the child.

A correct pencil grip will enable the child to move the fingers, controlling the pencil or pen with efficient and effective finger movements. When the fingers can move freely with the right amount of control, the pencil can be used to form the different letters accurately.

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Pencil grip development: How crucial?

Various studies have been carried out about the development of writing grip. Research has described five stages in the development of the pencil grip in a child. It is a skill that must be developed and reinforced as a child goes through different stages of motor skill development.

Children develop writing grip at their own pace, and every child goes through stages of experimenting with their grasp.

Poor pencil grips can result due to various factors like:

  • Some children have weak finger muscles or fine motor weakness. This could prevent the child from having a proper pencil grip.
  • Children with underdeveloped or weak muscles get tired very easily and this leads to frustration. This in turn leads to a lack of coordination which is very important for writing.
  • The child might have emulated someone who has an incorrect pencil grip.
  • Another surprising cause of incorrect pencil grasp is weak shoulder muscles.
  • Sometimes the children are asked to grasp the pencil with their non-dominant hand which can lead to an uncomfortable grip for the child.

Most of the incorrect grips can be easily corrected with the help of tools. Special tools are also a very good resource to aid writing for the child with special needs.

Activities to help children with pencil grip

Helping kids with their pencil grasp can be straining. Here are some activities that are fun ways to improve pencil grasp with fine motor play.

1. Spraying with water bottles

8 Helpful Activities For Improving Pencil Grip In Kids - Number Dyslexia (1)

Give the child a spray bottle filled with water. Encourage the child to go outdoors and spray water on the plants or try cleaning his or her toy bike. Let the child spray the side of the house, driveway, and sidewalk, with letters, numbers, pictures, and various designs.

Working with the spraying mechanism strengthens the child’s hand muscles. This helps to improve fine motor skills.

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2. Sprinkling glitter

8 Helpful Activities For Improving Pencil Grip In Kids - Number Dyslexia (2)

Provide the child with glue bottles and various colors of glitter. Give the child some pictures that are either drawn on cardstock or cut out from magazines. Instruct the child to squeeze out the glue on the image.

The child then has to pick up the glitter and fill the images with it.Invariably the grip that the child will use for this will be the tripod grasp and this will make the child more comfortable with using it while writing.

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3. Stringing the beads

8 Helpful Activities For Improving Pencil Grip In Kids - Number Dyslexia (3)

Get large colored beads and a length of thin rope or a string. Ask the child to string these beads. The activity can be made more enjoyable value added by asking the child to string the beads according to colors or size.

This activity helps the child develop fine motor skills and therefore ease with the tripod grip. It also exercises the child’s hand-eye coordination which is an important skill for writing.

4. Tomato squeezy

Chop tomatoes into halves. Also, have some large eye droppers and liquid paint. Ask the child to squeeze the tomatoes into different bowls into which water is added. Into each bowl instruct the child to use the eye droppers and pick up drops of paint from one color at a time.

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The colors are dropped into the tomato and water bowls by squeezing the dropper. The child now has different colors of ‘tomato’ water.The squeezing of the tomatoes and the dropper are both activities that enhance the fine motor skills and exercise the fingers. An added value is the recognition of colors too. The activity is exciting for the child as there are so many senses activated at the same time.

5. Go to school

8 Helpful Activities For Improving Pencil Grip In Kids - Number Dyslexia (4)

On a large white paper draw different pictures related to the child at home and school.. Preferably the pictures must depict elements used when the child gets ready for school.

For example pictures of a shower, a toothbrush, clothes, shoes, lunch box, school bag, books, and a school bus.

Give the child a felt pen or a marker and the child to join all these pictures in the right sequence by connecting them through lines or curves. It is a fun activity and the child will also try to reason out and recollect the sequence of events. The drawing of lines with a pen will help in developing the pencil grasp.The activity can be made more enjoyable by asking the child to color the pictures as well.

6. Applying Nail polish

8 Helpful Activities For Improving Pencil Grip In Kids - Number Dyslexia (5)

This is an activity the child will really enjoy. The child might often observe a family member applying nail polish and at some point would want to try the same. Cut out large finger-shaped cardboard pieces. Draw the image of a fingernail on it.

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Give the child either nontoxic nail polish or crayons to paint on it. The pencil grip that is required and the control of the polish brush will improve the fine motor skills of the child.The activity can be turned into a role play one to increase the fun element and ensure the child is enthusiastic about it.

7. Rainbow making

8 Helpful Activities For Improving Pencil Grip In Kids - Number Dyslexia (6)

Draw seven lines on large cardboard in the shape of a rainbow. Get large buttons of the colors of the rainbow and mix them up in a jar or a bowl. Ask the child to pick up one button at a time and arrange it on the lines according to the sequence in the rainbow. Every time the child picks up a button encourage him/ her to name the color too.

Once all the buttons are used up the child will have a rainbow ready.The child learns the grip by picking up the buttons and placing them on the cardboard. Learning the colors of the rainbow along with this is an added advantage.

8. Lids on jars

8 Helpful Activities For Improving Pencil Grip In Kids - Number Dyslexia (7)

This is a very easy activity with objects that are easily available in the kitchen.Source bottles and jars of various sizes. Unscrew the bottles and jars and mix up the lids. Ask the child to try and fix lids on all of them one by one by trial and error.

This activity exercises the fingers and hands of the child which is a very important aspect of developing a favorable pencil grasp.It helps the learner to also gain an insight into the concept of size.


To sum it up, although we have moved on to more of typing and devices with touch screens, writing remains an important skill to learn.

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Pencils and notebooks may appear to be boring for little kids so giving them toys or engaging them in activities that can enhance the pencil grip is a good idea.While there isn’t only one correct way to hold a pencil, one of the preferred ways for effective handwriting is called the tripod grasp. A child whose handwriting is slow and labored may need additional support and time.


What activities help with pencil grip? ›

Rolling Play-Doh into small balls. Squeezing a spray bottle with the pointer and middle fingers. Placing coins into a piggy bank. Holding a cotton ball in the palm with the ring and middle fingers while colouring, writing, or cutting.

How do you teach a pencil to grip? ›

She recommends gently correcting them as young as age three, so they don't develop a bad habit. Here's a good trick: Try laying the pencil with the tip toward his hand and have him pick it up with his thumb and index finger (this is the pincer grip).

What would you do if a child Cannot get a grip on the pencil? ›

5 Tips for Correcting Your Child's Pencil Grasp
  1. Focus on Fine Motor and Hands-On Activities NOT Pencil and Paper.
  2. Using pom-poms or coins in the last two fingers.
  3. “Go” & “Stop” fingers.
  4. Using smaller or fatter pencils.
  5. Pencil grips as a last resort.
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2 Jul 2015

What are the five different ways of gripping your pencil? ›

Four mature grips and how they function
  • Dynamic tripod. This grasp is the one many teachers actively promote. ...
  • Lateral tripod. The second most common grip pattern involves the thumb and first two fingers, like the dynamic tripod. ...
  • Dynamic quadrupod. ...
  • Lateral quadrupod.
29 Aug 2019

How can I improve my pencil skills? ›

Clay Exercises can help strengthen the muscles of the hand for increased endurance of pencil grasp. Motoric Separation of the Hand is essential for managing the pencil while utilizing the ulnar, stability side of the hand. Fine Motor Play with Tissue Paper is a great way to build intrinsic muscle strength.

How does a pencil grip develop? ›

A few at Stage 5.
  • Stage 1 - Palmer-supinate grasp. Holds the crayon/pencil in fist (whole hand) like a dagger. ...
  • Stage 2 - Palmer or digital-pronate grasp. ...
  • Stage 3 - Four finger and thumb grip. ...
  • Stage 4 - Static quadruped or tripod grip. ...
  • Stage 5 - Mature / Dynamic tripod grip.

What is the best pencil grip for children? ›

Ideally, we want kids to hold their pencil with a dynamic tripod grasp which is their index finger, middle finger, and thumb holding onto the pencil only. See the examples of the proper grip in this picture: What is this? More kids than ever hold the pencil though with three fingers and thumb, called a quadrupod grasp.

Why is pencil grip important for kids? ›

A correct pencil grip will enable the writer to move the fingers, controlling the pencil or pen with efficient finger movements. The ability to hold a pencil correctly can affect a child's attitude to learning and school work, their academic achievement as well as their motor/joint development.

Do pencil grips improve handwriting? ›

Used correctly, a Pencil Grip can help develop fine motor skills and user control over their handwriting. Traditionally Pencil Grips are made with foam, silicone or moulded rubber. The pencil grip has helped reform the writing ability of countless children and adults, both able bodied and those with disabilities.

What motor skill is holding a pencil? ›

Fine motor play is just as important to prepare a child to hold a pencil as larger, or gross, movements. Typically, children are naturally inquisitive and will pull, push, roll, stack and poke everything in their grasp. Some children need extra encouragement and support to do this.

What causes poor pencil grip? ›

Poor pencil grips can develop for several reasons: some children do not have the muscle strength and finger dexterity required to hold a pencil correctly; others may have been forced to use an inappropriate grip for the stage in their development (which research highlights as causing a poor grip style later on);

At what age should a child develop a mature pencil grip? ›

A dynamic tripod grasp typically develops between 4-7 years of age where the pencil movement will occur through manipulation of the fingers and hand.

What are the usage of pencil in our daily activities? ›

It is mainly used for artistic sketching and drawing, for stenography or notes. Its benefits are the simple usage as well as being able to remove what you've drawn with an eraser. What makes the pencil a writing utensil is based on the crystal structure of the graphite and a low Van der Waals force.

What are the two pencil techniques? ›

My Two-Pencil Method is exactly what it sounds like: an approach to drawing that relies on just two different types of pencils—an ordinary graphite pencil and a black colored pencil. The graphite pencil allows you to get a drawing started and to fine-tune shading.

What are the 3 types of grips? ›

There are three types of grip strength: crush grip, support grip, and pinch grip. The forearms, biceps, hands, and fingers all play a role in developing a better grip.

What are the four types of gripping? ›

Here is a breakdown of four grips and different ways that they can be used in the gym for exercises or other technique purposes.
  • Pronated (or Overhand) Grip. The pronated grip is generally the most common grip used during resistance training. ...
  • Supinated (or Underhand) Grip. ...
  • Alternated Grip. ...
  • Hook Grip.
1 Dec 2016

What are the best pencil grips? ›

Top 4 Pencil Grips
  • Triangle Grip. Provides physical promoting for a tripod grasp with the three-sided design. Good for early learners as it promotes good finger placement.
  • Claw Grip. Provides a cap for the child's thumb, index, and middle finger. ...
  • Grotto Grip. Promotes placement of thumb and index finger. ...
  • Solo Grip.
10 Jun 2021

What are the stages of pencil grips? ›

The Five Stages of Pencil Grip Development
  • Stage 1. Palmer-supinate grasp.
  • Stage 2. Palmer or digital-pronate grasp.
  • Stage 3. Four finger and thumb grip.
  • Stage 4. Static Quadruped or tripod grip.
  • Stage 5. Mature/Dynamic tripod grip.
14 Nov 2019

Should you teach pencil grip? ›

It is important to encourage a good pencil grip from the start so make sure your child is able to identify and name their thumb, pointer finger and middle finger (see below for Tommy Thumb Song) so they can start to use them together.

What is pencil grip called? ›

Teachers have traditionally considered the correct pencil grasp to be the “dynamic tripod” grasp, where the thumb, index and middle fingers are holding the pencil.

What are the 3 pencil points? ›

Pencil points may be sharpened into three different shapes: the conical, the chisel, and the elliptical.

What is the most common pencil grip? ›

There's no "right" way to hold a pencil, but the dynamic tripod grasp is considered to be the standard, most common way to do it. Children are typically taught to hold a pencil using the dynamic-tripod-grasp method.

Is pencil grip a fine motor skill? ›

As your child develops physically, and takes part in lots of fun gross motor activities such as creeping / crawling, climbing and pushing, the shoulder and arm muscles will get stronger and steadier, and this can have a positive effect on the development of fine motor skills, including pencil grasp.

What are the 5 motor skills? ›

Motor skills are important in early childhood development. Mastery of many motor skills is important for normal daily functions. The five basic motor skills are sitting, standing, walking, running, and jumping.

What are the 5 motor skills needed to be developed in the pre writing skills for handwriting? ›

What are Pre-Writing Skills?
  • Well-developed gross motor control.
  • Good posture and core control.
  • The ability to cross the midline.
  • Bilateral coordination.
  • A good pencil grasp.
  • Well-developed fine motor control.
  • The ability to form basic patterns.
7 Nov 2022

What is a functional pencil grasp? ›

A functional grasp is one in which the writer uses a pencil both efficiently and effectively. A functional grasp is one that the student is able to write without several big issues. When a student writes with a pencil, they may not use the clear-cut tripod grasp.

What does it mean if child holds pencil wrong? ›

If so, your child's pencil grip may be considered immature. Children whose grips are immature often just need focused activities and a little more time to help them strengthen their bodies and their hands.

How should a 6 year old hold a pencil? ›

By 5 or 6 years of age, children's finger muscles are more developed and strong enough to grip a pencil correctly, using only three-fingers—their thumb, index, and middle finger. You may notice that your child switches back and forth between using a five-finger and three-finger grip as they practice writing.

What development is holding a pencil? ›

Palmer Grasp: As your child starts to develop more control over their shoulder and arm muscles, they will move on to hold a pencil with their fingers. With the Palmer grasp, the hand is facing downwards towards the paper, with the pencil lying across the palm of their hand.

What are the five pre writing activities? ›

We often call these prewriting strategies “brainstorming techniques.” Five useful strategies are listing, clustering, freewriting, looping, and asking the six journalists' questions. These strategies help you with both your invention and organization of ideas, and they can aid you in developing topics for your writing.

How should a child grip a pencil? ›

General guidelines for a good pencil grip, as shown in figure 2, include: ◗ the pencil is held in a stable position between the thumb, index and middle fingers ◗ the ring and little fingers are bent and rest comfortably on the table ◗ the index finger and thumb form an open space ◗ the wrist is bent back slightly, and ...

How do I teach my 5 year old to hold a pencil? ›

Step 1: Starting with a pencil in your child's writing hand, have them pinch the pencil between their index finger and thumb. Step 2: Without using any other fingers, ask them to flip the pencil forward, while continuing to grip the pencil between their index finger and thumb.

What are 6 prewriting exercises? ›

Here are some of the most common prewriting techniques:
  • Talking. Simply talking through your ideas with someone, regardless of their knowledge of the subject, can help you gather your thoughts. ...
  • Researching. ...
  • Brainstorming. ...
  • Listing. ...
  • Clustering. ...
  • Freewriting. ...
  • Looping. ...
  • Journalistic questioning.

What are the 9 prewriting strokes? ›

These 9 strokes are vertical line, horizontal line, circular strokes (circle), cross shape, square, diagonal line right, diagonal line left, X shape, and triangle, and that is the order we expect children to learn the strokes in.


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