I've previously written about all the good reasons to use crayons before markers. As Otto gets closer to four I've been paying special attention to his pencil grip and drawings. Recently he has been using markers almost exclusively and a solid cylindrical grasp. Markers are easy for the child to use, the child doesn't need to apply much pressure and the marker glides over the paper. They are an easy and colourful way to draw. Crayons require much more effort. So I decided it was time to put away the markers for a while.
Otto's cylindrical grasp is tight and he uses the movement of his arm to draw. It is important that children develop an efficient grasp before an inefficient grasp is locked in. As Otto draws every day, I really don't want for him to lock in this tight cylindrical grasp. I'm not interested in asking Otto to adjust his grip, I'd rather change the environment. It's time to reignite an interest in crayons!
Rather than stick crayons, I'm putting some of our ergonomic type crayons out displayed nicely so they attract his attention. Pictured above are the Octahedron Crayons (AU) similar to Gem Crayons (top), Grasp Crayons (AU) (right), Left Right Ergonomic Crayons (bottom), Crayon Rocks (centre) and the Easi-Grip Crayons (AU) (left). I've also seen Occupational Therapists online recommend using broken crayons for children to improve their grasp.
It is important to note that other activities using fine motor skills (using scissors, puzzles, pegging, play dough, clay) can greatly contribute to hand strength and developing an efficient pencil grip.
The change is instant. You can see how hard his fingers have to work here.
Pictured above are the Octahedron Crayons (AU).
With some crayons, his grasp looks a little awkward but I'm happy for him to play around and see what works.
Above are the Left Right Ergonomic Crayons.
Crayon Rocks are fantastic for strengthening the fingers.
Pictured above are Crayon Rocks.
The Grasp Crayons (AU) look difficult to use but I allow Otto to choose which crayons he wants to draw with.
Above are the Easi-Grip Crayons (AU) and I'm not sure how the child is supposed to use them, but I thought they were worth a try.
Let me know if you've found one type of crayon better than others for promoting a good pencil grip!
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