5 Ways to Help Kids with Dysgraphia this Summer

If your child struggles with writing, as most students with learning problems do, then summer is an ideal time to play some fun games that will help your child strengthen hand muscles, the first step in helping a student overcome dysgraphia.

Following is a list of games and activities you can do with your child this summer that will not only be fun, but will help your child's muscles gain strength - which in the long run will help with pencil grip and the ability to form letters correctly.

1. Squirt guns are ideal for strengthening hand muscles used in writing. You can have your child count by two's, three's etc. with each squirt as he/she aims at an object outside. Set up objects on a surface that's about three feet from your child. Once he/she is adept at this, then make the distance slowly longer and longer. This will help not only with visual motor integration, but also with eye/hand coordination and fine motor skills.

2. Set up bigger targets, such as milk cartons or jugs, and have your child use a super soaker and aim from further distances. You can add other learning into this fun game, such as counting by two's, three's, etc., multiplication facts, or spelling simple words. Each squirt is a letter or number and your child can shout the answers with gusto!

3. Give your child a spray bottle or a squirt gun. Place a ping pong ball in the middle of a table, preferably outdoors. Your child is to have an opponent (you, a sibling, or a friend). Draw a line down the middle of the table or mark it with masking tape. Each opponent stands at one side of the table with his/her squirt gun or spray bottle. When you say "go" both opponents spray the ping pong ball, trying to move it across the other end of the table. The winner is the one who gets it across the table first. Play multiple times and enjoy getting wet.

4. Get a bag of sand from a hardware store or gardening supply store. Fill a plastic pail with the sand and get it thoroughly wet. Give your child a scoop, such as a large measuring spoon or cup. Have your child scoop the wet sand out of the pail and place it on a tarp or plastic sheet. When your child has scooped all of the sand out, he/she can make a sandcastle or other 3-D object. When the sandcastle is finished, have your child scoop the sand back into the pail. You can also hide treasures in the sand and have your child dig for them. This scooping motion is excellent for strengthening muscles used in writing, and the wetness in the sand forces your child to put more "oomph" into the exercise.

5. Buy some kitchen sponges and a plastic pail. Fill the pail with water. Place the sponges in the pail of water until they are soaked thoroughly. Have your child take a sponge out of the pail and squeeze all of the water out of it. Your child should then grab another sponge and repeat the process. Have your child use his/her dominant hand first, then have him/her repeat the process with the non-dominant hand.