OT Activity of the Day
Target Age Range: 3 and up
By the age of 3 children should have no problem copying a vertical line, horizontal line, or circle. By the age of 4 and a half children should be able to copy a square and be working towards copying a triangle. These are what we call "prewriting strokes". By being able to look at these lines and shapes and accurately copy them, children are displaying adequate visual motor abilities that signal they are ready to start writing letters. Visual motor is the ability to recreate with your hands/body what you're seeing. While this skill is very important in life in general, it's very important to your child's ability to write.
To practice visual motor skills at an early age, you can draw pictures with your kids using just the basic shapes. Start with just one aspect of the picture and see if your child can copy it, from there you can build until you have a full fledged picture! If you can look past the masterpiece I've drawn, you'll see that this picture is made up entirely from these prewriting strokes. In case you can't tell, it's a train on a track. Trust me it's a real crowd pleaser with the kids. Other things that can be made up from simple shapes: a person, a house, a truck or a car just to name a few.
If you have an older child (like 6 and up) and feel like they struggle with visual motor skills (learning to write letters and words is just harder for them) you can go on Pinterest and search "drawing tutorials for kids". When I did that I was looking at numerous pictures that had been broken down and laid out in a step by step format. Your child can practice their visual motor skills by drawing what they see and hopefully create a picture to be proud of. This is so much more fun that practicing letters to improve visual motor skills.