On Homeschool & Unschooling

Learning Proper Pencil Grasp


How to teach the correct pencil grasp? When is the right time to teach it?

This is a much debatable topic that one post cannot cover it entirely.

Many early childhood educators I spoke to agree that it is OK if a 5 years old is still learning to hold a pencil correctly. And it is encouraged to let a 2 year old toddler doodle with his/her fingers instead of introducing the pencil too early.

In fact all early childhood books I read thus far (Montessori included) encourage more finger painting activities or activities that develop fine motor skills before teaching a young child how to tripod hold a pencil.

In order for a young child to hold a pencil well with right posture, right amount of strength etc… it takes a lot of muscle groups. Hence, it is important that these muscle groups are developed step by step before introducing proper writing.

There are plenty of Montessori activities for fine motor skills development and babies learn fine motor skills the moment they try to reach and grasp objects.

Development of a child’s pencil grasp:


Image from bluemangollc

Big E is still learning the tripod grasp and his strokes are very light. I got him a fun handwriting activity book just to save me some time & paper from printing free templates off the internet. He had done one page thus far. Rest of the days, he doesn’t feel like practising and I’m cool with it.

We engage in other activities that encourage pre-writing skills. Some of these activities are surprisingly unexpected and easy to do in any household – lacing, sewing, object transferring, hanging the laundry, art & crafts, scissors work, playdough, opening bottle caps, twisting, wringing wet cloths, putting coins into a savings box…

Let’s not forget gross motor skills development! Lots of exercise & outdoors have a huge positive impact on fine motor skills too.

I’ve found a long list of fine motor skills activity list as well as gross motor skills activity list to print. Best of all, they are free!!!

Gross Motor Skills Free Printable – Hands On As We Grow

Fine Motor Skills Free Printable – Hands On As We Grow\

Fine Motor Skills Free Printable – Blue Mangollc

More information about teaching handwriting here

Teach Handwriting

OT Plan – Pencil Grasp Patterns

School Sparks

Growing Hands On Kids – Pencil Grasp Development For Writing (this is very comprehensive)


Happy Writing!







9 thoughts on “Learning Proper Pencil Grasp”

  1. Interesting article. Informative for me since my boy is 15months old and yes, he automatically grips the pencil/pen in the cylindrical grasp method… And then he proceeds to doodle anywhere except on the paper that I’ve given to him. LOL!


  2. I read that it’s too soon to expect a young child to grasp pencil like we do. Some of the great fine motor skills are finger painting (like you mentioned) and cutting using scissors.


  3. Oh wow thanks for this!

    My son is 2+ now and his teacher said to let him use a pencil more often so tat he learns how to hold it properly. I think its working!


  4. I used to worry why G is not interested at drawing and writing at all when he entered pre-school. Now that he is in K1, he loves doodling away! Most parents’ worries are unfounded. It’s best for kids to take their own pace unless we really feel they their learning skills are a quite behind.
    Cherry (www.sweetmemoirs.com)


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