Pencil Grip - Mindstretch Preschool
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Getting to Grips

Appropriate pencil grip may seem a small thing, yet it’s important. A child with a good grip will write more clearly and quicker. This helps confidence, which spurs creativity. They’ll want to show off their skill!

At Mindstretch we begin work towards a good pencil grip early, through a focus on improving hand strength and dexterity. But we also know a child will only master the skill around Grade R. It’s a tricky one, it takes time, and every child needs some time to build up to it.

Early on some children don't even want to draw. In that case, encourage them to put pen to paper without too much input or fuss. It's most important they learn to love the work.

Here’s what to look for: the PINCER GRIP, and the correct PENCIL GRIP with a song to describe it:

First off, we work to build HAND STRENGTH and teach the PINCER GRIP.

  • Squeezing the trigger of a spray bottle strengthens little hands. For a ‘messy play’ option, spray watered-down paint from the bottle onto paper. Or have your young helper water the plants.
  • Let you child knead the dough, if you’re baking.
  • Screwing and unscrewing lids on jars is another great exercise.
  • Use tweezers to pick up pompoms or other small objects. Maybe have a race and see who can pop the most into a bowl.
  • Pegging and threading exercises are good. At Mindstretch we like to thread uncooked macaroni or beads and make a lovely necklace.
  • Stick or draw stars on a large sheet of paper and have your child draw lines between them as constellations.
  • Have your child draw with an earbud. Or perhaps write their name and have them use the earbud to decorate the word with dots on the lines.

There are many ideas and MECHANICAL AIDS to assist a pencil grip. Aids can be readily purchased online, or make your own. An elastic band is all you need in the example below (from

Practice makes perfect. Have your child colour in or copy their name or numbers. Keep checking the grip and take a 10 minute break if it begins to slip. The pencil grip takes time to get it right, but it will come with perseverance.

For the littlest children, or a child who struggles, go back to the BASICS.

  • Any Peg Board activity is great.
  • Press and seal a Zip Lock bag.
  • Button Up clothing with BIG buttons. Zip Up clothing too.
  • Tear big pieces of paper using the fingertips.
  • Pop bubble wrap by pushing down or pinching to pop the bubbles. 

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