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Teach Handwriting

Chinese proverb

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Activities to Improve Tactile Defensive Skills for Handwriting

Messy Play

You need

Things with different textures as well as wet, dry, sticky things and a bowl of water and towel to clean hands if required.

How to do it

If your child is fearful of any material have them play with it in a less threatening way. For example, they can use your hands to start touching it, they can put objects in or out of the "messy" materials, or they can push toy cars or plastic animals through it etc.

After they begin to feel safe, slowly encourage them to try other fun ways which you model... splatting it, poking, pulling, rolling etc. Eventually encourage the use of the whole hand (including palm).

DO NOT FORCE your child to touch things which cause a significant fearful response.

Prepare your child, let them know what you are doing ahead of time and while engaged in the activity

Allow your child to experience sensations when they are ready. Encourage it and creatively find a way to get them to do it.

Buried Treasure

You need

As suggestions - Sand, feathers, rice, beans, play dough, bowl and small toys.

How to do it

Hide a toy or a small number of toys in the material being used, such as sand, for your child to find. To start with have toys sit on top of the sand to build confidence then push them into the material so that only a small part of the toy is showing . This allows your child to retrieve the toy without having to put their hands completely into it. As their confidence grows  push the toys further into the material until it is no longer seen. Let your child watch so that they can see where the toys have been placed. Once they are comfortable ask them to look away or close their eyes as you hide the toys so they have to search with their hands. Try to encourage them to put in both hands (including the palms).  If they are reluctant to try this stage, ask them to hide the toys and you demonstrate the search and find part of the game.


You need

A recipe that requires mixing with hands and kneading such as those that need pastry, pizza dough or bread making.

How to do it

Any form of cooking that requires your child to use their hands is great.  Making pizza provides an additional tactile experience when handling the toppings; just be sure hands are clean.

Core Strength (Posture) Games instructions.pdf