I have homeschooled all my kids from the beginning and one thing I remember vividly about kindergarten is the crying and moaning and groaning over writing.
“My hand hurts!”
“My hand is cramping!”
My mom shared something with me recently that I wish I had known 5 years ago. See, my mom is a preschool teacher. Not only that, but has she raised 5 children, has a degree in early childhood education, and has worked in the preschool area for years and years, so she knows her stuff! What she told me was that playing with Play doh has a huge impact on preschoolers’ ability to write in kindergarten! She said that there are things these 3 and 4 year olds can be doing that build strength so when they head off to school, their little hands won’t cramp from all that writing they will be doing. One of the things she instructed me to do with my four year old was to cut Play doh. She said it strengthens the muscles in the fingers because of the resistance.
She also said to have him squish the Play doh between his fingers. It sort of acts like a stress ball that they use in physical therapy and, again, builds up the strength in their little fingers.
So there you have it! Like my mom always says, play is actually work for those sweet little ones.