Fine Motor & Writing Skills - Dot Shot

 

Increasing Endurance For Writing & Fine Motor Tasks

Often children change hands when fatigued. Part of developing a consistent hand choice for writing and drawing involves increasing strength and endurance for fine motor tasks.

Additionally, the muscles of the wrist and fingers require strengthening to handle not only a pencil, but scissors and buttons, laces and lots of fine motor toys.

Today’s session is a simple but fun activity that gives a good workout to the muscles of the wrist, hand and fingers (and if standing up to work at a vertical surface such as a blackboard or whiteboard or easel), can also improve shoulder and elbow stability and endurance for fine motor activities).

Set Up

You will need a large work surface – either at a table or at a vertical surface as described above. You will also need a strong drawing or writing tool such as chalk (you can use any chalk on paper), a self inking stamp or a bingo marker.

Either divide the board in two halves or share out large pieces of paper.

The idea is for you and your child (or another child in the family) to race to make as many dots as possible on the call of “Ready, Set Go!” until the timer stops.

The length of time will vary according to age, ability and interest level. We suggest starting with a short and sweet 10 seconds. Encourage your child to cover as much of the paper as possible (this will make counting of the dots easier at the end and encourages more crossing of the midline).

Grasp patterns are likely to shift as fatigue sets in – this is very normal – what we want to see is that over time, your child will be able to sustain a pencil grasp that involves active finger movement for increasingly longer periods rather than static “power” grips.

Once finished making your dots you can either:

  • work out how to count so many dots!
  • group the dots, counting up to a number your child can comfortably manage
  • join the dots to make some pictures, that your child can name (as in Funny Finisher).

Also, at first, some children may change hands during this activity – that’s OK, with practice and time, they will gradually opt for one hand over the other more of the time. Don’t discourage them from doing this – it’s part of the process of developing hand dominance – we need to see what they naturally do.

If your child consistently avoids crossing their midline (an imaginary zone running the length of the body) by swapping hands to reach the other side of the paper/board, this is of concern for not only their physical development, but also their cognitive development.

If it persists, discuss it with your child’s occupational therapist or contact Julia to discuss further.

Variations

1. For older children increase the challenge by making dots in the shape of something that they have in mind.

2. To reduce the pressure, use a picture stamp pad to create special wrapping paper – perform the stamping to the rhythm of background music with a strong and steady 4/4 beat.

3. To help with letter production, older children can race to see how many letters they can dot out in a set time, checking accuracy after they are done by connecting the dots.

4. In a classroom, give students separate pieces of paper and complete the activity as described, or have them pass their sheet on to the next person and try to make pictures out of what is passed to them.

 

Also Works On: Muscle strength and endurance throughout the hands and arms; visual perception; visual attention; maths skills; problem solving; reading skills; bilateral integration; visual motor integration; visual scanning

 

 

Activity Materials
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You Will Need...

  1. A large work surface – either at a table or at a vertical surface
  2. A strong drawing or writing tool such as chalk (you can use any chalk on paper), a self inking stamp or a bingo marker.