Fine Motor Skills & The Pefect Pencil Grip


It’s always lovely when we see our little ones pick up a pencil and start to make ’shapes’ and ‘patterns’ on a piece of paper for the first time (not so great when it’s crayon on your Farrow & Ball freshly painted wall perhaps, but all part of the joy of young children!).

Most children when they first grab a crayon or pencil with the intention of putting it to paper, they’ll probably start with a ‘fist grip’ (/ ‘grasp’) and will be using movements in the their shoulder to get the crayon to move across the paper.  As they develop control over their muscles, they then move to the ‘palmar grasp’ where they start to use their arm muscles more, and not just their shoulder muscles, to move the pencil.   If we were asked to hold a pencil how we think a child would hold it, many of us would demonstrate the palmar grip, with the pencil laying across the centre of the palm.

Their pencil grasp will continue to develop until they have mastered the finger grasp – the normal next step is the five finger grasp, where they use all fingers to hold the pencil and the wrist is held off the table and is used to move the pencil.   By age 6, most children will be using the mature three finger pencil grip, which will become more natural and comfortable with practice and familiarity.

There are a whole host of resources online available to print for each stage of the pencil holding journey, such as early straight and curvy lines to trace along and copy – through to letter formation guides – just a quick google search will bring up aeons of them.

There are lots of activities that are great to help develop your child’s fine motor skills, such as (all age dependant so please do consider which are most appropriate) …… simple sewing and pegboard activities; using tweezers to pick up and sort large beads; plasticine and play dough modelling; peeling and chopping veggies for tea (under supervision!); woodworking tools (with even more supervision!); using scissors to cut out shapes; sand and water play; small construction toys, etc….  and get the very young ones started with finger rhymes & songs  and finger painting.


Happy scribbling / writing / drawing (delete as appropriate).
Love, Funky Moose Towers ………