Great Apps & Fun, Tactile Strategies for Handwriting

June 7, 2013

Handwriting is a source of frustration for many children (particularly those with dysgraphia).   To get reluctant writers motivated to practice letter formation (print or cursive) correctly requires creativity, and needs to be fun.  I share a number of “tactile” strategies for handwriting and spelling in my books for helping children with ADHD and Learning Disabilities, including such techniques as:  finger-painting words using  shaving cream on tabletops, or using pudding, whipped cream, or frosting on waxed paper or paper plates. Another tactile strategy is while sitting on the carpet, having the child write the letters/words on the carpet with two fingers using large muscle movements or playing the game of writing in colored sand or tray of salt with a finger or stick.  These tactile strategies are motivating and fun, and also help make sensory imprints in the child’s brain of how to form the letters.

Without getting their hands dirty, there are other strategies using these “tactile” techniques.   These are two apps by FizzBrain that I really like and recommend:

“Touch and Write ” by FizzBrain and Cursive Touch and Write. There are several different writing textures, including shaving cream, grape jelly, chocolate pudding, and more. While writing the letters, you not only see these textures, you also hear the actual sounds they make. Aside from the pens, there are also different  papers to write on.


PINTEREST is another source of wonderful strategies.  See my Pinterest board for Handwriting & Fine Motor skills at which contains the following three handwriting strategies, as well as many others:




Fill a freezer bag with a bottle of hair gel.  Add food coloring and glitter.  Mix together and have your child write the letters, numerals, or words.  See this mom’s blog at Play at Home Mom LLC  for how she uses this with her son.



To make your own paint bag writing tablet, put some finger paint or tempera paint into a sturdy freezer zip-top plastic bag.  Seal it well and smoosh the paint around the entire bag.  (You could even add a strip of packing tape across the top if you are worried about your child opening the bag.)  Tape it to a table to keep the bag from sliding.  See on Paint Bag Writing.






Words or letters can be written in highlighter for the child to trace over with a pencil.  Starting points for letter formation can have a highlighted dot, and lines (top/bottom/middle) can be drawn with a highlighter to keep your child writing on and within the lines.  You can also make highlighted boxes as a frame within which to write the letters or words.  See Miss Nancy’s blog on the use of highlighting techniques.

The best  program I have yet to find for teaching handwriting (for kids through 5th grade)  is Handwriting Without Tears®,  by Occupational Therapist, Jan Olsen.  If interested in some of the handwriting and spelling strategies I have written about, see my books:  The ADD/ADHD Checklist: A Practical Reference for Parents & Teachers,  How to Reach & Teach Children with ADD/ADHD,   Alphabet Learning Center Activities Kit,  or  The ADHD Book of Lists.


Tags: , , , , , ,

Comments (0)

Leave a Reply