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Developing Fine and Gross Motor Skills

It is important that children have access to a range of activities that will develop muscles in their hands and wrist which will make writing easier.

Any of these fun activities will help:

  •   cutting out pictures from catalogues, cutting out their own pictures or along different wavy, straight or zig zag lines.

  •   Using modelling materials such as clay, plasticine, playdough, sand

  •   Painting and printing

  •   Threading beads, pasta, buttons to a timer—can they beat their own score?

  •   Use water pistols to reach a target or paint outdoor bricks with water and brushes or chalks, paint in the bath.

  •   Fix lego, screw and unscrew lids, post pennies in a box, sprinkle seeds.

  •   Fold paper to make shapes, envelopes

  •   Wash walls with soap and brushes

  •   Paint with mops

  •   Play swing ball with a pair of tights

  •   Create lolly stick race tracks

  •   Make tracks with bikes through shaving foam

  •   Dig in sand and soil

  •   Sweep up leaves or shaving foam

  •   Draw circles onto large sheets of paper

  •   Use large rollers or brushes

  •   Pulling their bodies up on ropes/climbing wall

  •   Ribbon/scarf twirling

  •   Sticking and pulling plungers from vertical and horizontal surfaces.


From toddlerhood onwards, children's pencil grasp changes significantly. Children typically develop control of large muscles first, and smaller ones later. This explains why young children's gross motor skills are typically more advanced than their fine motor skills - for example, a three-year-old will find it easier to hop on one leg than to do up their buttons.


Young children usually develop their pencil grasp in the following sequence:

Fist Grip - Pencil is held in the palm.

Digital Grip - all fingers are holding the pencil but the wrist is turned so the palm is facing down.

Four Finger Grip - four fingers are held on the pencil opposite the thumb 

Emerging Tripod/Pincer Grip - a three-finger grasp, where the thumb, index finger and middle finger work as one unit.

Tripod Grip - pencil is held in a stable position between the thumb, index and middle finger.


A child’s grip will usually improve as their hand movements become more controlled. However, as it is difficult to change pencil grip in older children, it is important to help them to correct it when young.

To help a child hold a pencil correctly:

Image result for nip flip and grip  Nip, Flip and Grip 


Our Letter Formation 


Peterbrook Primary School, High Street, Solihull Lodge, Shirley, Solihull, West Midlands, B90 1HR

Tel: +44(0)121 4302545