Saturday, March 3, 2012

Tripod Activities

There are many activities children can do that use a tripod pencil grasp but don't actually involve writing. They enable a child to develop the coordination between the "tripod fingers"- thumb, index and middle fingers while strengthening them as they control a tool.
Examples are
  • magic pads- scribble away with a stylus, pull the plastic up and work disappears
  • Magnadoodle- these come with different shaped tools including one that is used with a tripod grasp to create pictures on a magnetic surface. The child turns it upside down and shakes to "erase" and start over. 
  • scratch art- you can purchase or a child can make her own by coloring a page with lots of crayon colors. Next color over the surface with black crayon. When the top layer is scratched with a tool, a colorful design appears.
  • rubbings- can be done with small pieces of crayon to strengthen the tripod fingers. Purchase plates with raised pictures or make your own 3 dimensional surface with sandpaper shapes taped to the table. Next tape paper on top. When the child rubs the crayon the shapes or picture below will appear.
These are all pretty easy, low tech activities and great for ages three and up. However, using a stylus on a tablet screen also works on motor control. I also recommend art projects such as the making pictures with a "lacing pen".  This is for older kids who have pretty good pencil control but it certainly refines the grasp as the child creates designs by pushing the laces in place with the tool. It's marketed for ages 4 and up.

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