I have always had several chalkboards in my OT gym and its hands down my favorite thing to use for handwriting development.
On this particular activity, I write a vertical column of letters (usually about 5-6 that the child is working on mastering identification), such as ” N, M, X, O and B”. I always throw in at least one letter that the child routinely recognizes. Then, I create a “code” around each of the letters. The example above shows a triangle around the M, wavy lines around the X, and so on. Then I write the letters on the left side of the board and have the child “code” each letter correctly, by using the key on the right. They should use the same color of chalk and same shape. A small sponge and spray bottle are available for mistakes and for after activity clean up.
What are some of the skills we are working on with this activity?
1. Grasp development : Use broken chalk to increase correct grasp. By making chalk very short (1″ long is great), it facilitates a functional grasp.
2. Hand strength: Using the spray bottle helps increase hand strength
3. Wrist stabilization: Use of a vertical surface increases wrist and forearm stabilization
4. Visual Motor Integration: Copying age appropriate shapes and images is great practice. You may need to provide the child with outlines or even a 3 dots (triangle) to help them form correctly.
5. Visual Perceptual: Learning how to recognize and analyze shapes, letters and numbers increases a child’s ability to process visual information.
6. Sensory Input: The standing and movement in the activity is fun and engaging
TIP: You can find chalkboard paint at your local hardware stores. You can even get it in custom colors!