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Pencil Holding 101

Hand a pencil to a preschooler and he'll probably clutch it in his tight little fist, making writing sloppy and difficult. To help your kid get a grip, try these at-home activities.

Peel away
Have him try to peel a clementine or small orange. This will give him practice grasping something small with his fingers while pulling at the same time, a skill he's going to need for writing. (Plus, he's rewarded with a sweet treat when he's finished!)

Easy pieces
Instead of tossing those broken crayons, let your child color with them. He'll have to hold the smaller pieces the way he would a pencil rather than with the closed-fist grip he uses on whole crayons.

Drop by drop
For some kitchen fun, give your child a medicine dropper from an empty bottle, a cup of water, and an empty cup. Have him transfer a drop of water from one cup to the other to build finger strength and coordination.