Where are all the pencils?

“When is she ever going to write her name with a pencil?”  

A favorite question from parents.

"She will."

"But where are all the pencils?" 

"Don't need 'em." 

Pause, head tilts like a labrador's. 

Yes, strong fine motor skills are important to good handwriting, but put that pencil down.   In fact, don’t worry at all about those pencils.  Forcing a pencil in a child’s hand before it is ready in order to force “writing” can lead to biomechanical stress on joints, fatigue, and compromised writing speed. 

"What do those things have to do with writing in Kindergarten?"

"Oh, I'm not getting them ready for Kindergarten, remember?"

Pause, head tilts like a labrador's.  

"We are getting ready for life."

Ask a high schooler how much they write.  Constantly. For hours.  Skip some steps in development, and here I mean fine motor development, those problems will arise. So let's do this right. Those little fingers are going to touch everything in sight. Let’s put some fun activities within reach that will give them a sense of accomplishment and a sense of connection.

And before you scream "What no pencils?!"  My room is full of a variety of writing materials. Check the writing center - crayons, pencils, markers. Check the science center - clip boards with pencils. Check the easel, beside the paint and brushes. See the markers, chalk and pencils. 

Remember to make a connection. Dad golfs. How about plopping some golf tees, marbles and styrofoam on the table.   Baking is a favorite at home. Put out some spoons, egg cartons and rocks.  Fine motor activities are everywhere. And usually away from the pencils.