Let Children Monkey Around: It Will Help Their Handwriting!

30 Nov

Over Thanksgiving break, I had the pleasure of taking my little cousins to the park. While my adorable cousin Ryan was dangling from the monkey bars,  I would stand so close to him, worried he would fall and get hurt. I couldn’t help it; I was born with that motherly instinct! Ryan’s amazing mother, my “Aunt” Mary, (We joke about her being my aunt because she is more like a cousin) shared with me how much Ryan’s handwriting had improved from playing on the monkey bars. When I was a child, the idea of playing on the playground was simply for fun. I never really took the time to think how these playgrounds served more of a purpose than an energy release for children. Gross motor skills are important for child development. The monkey bars strengthen the hand muscles which are needed to hold a writing utensil. I always wondered why they put such dangerous equipment on playgrounds. Now understanding the real purpose for the various jungle gym equipment, I can stand back with relief knowing even though they could potentially get hurt, they are improving their gross motor skills! My handwriting is horrendous; maybe I ignored the monkey bars as a child! On that note, I should probably take a trip to the park to monkey around!

My little cousin Ryan monkeying around!

My little cousin Ryan monkeying around!

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4 Responses to “Let Children Monkey Around: It Will Help Their Handwriting!”

  1. coonsb30 December 2, 2012 at 4:02 pm #

    I have never thought about how playing on the playground could help improve handwriting skills. Honestly, the only way I thought that was possible was to practice, practice, and practice some more. I know all about fine motor and gross motor skills but I have never put two and two together. Now that I think about it, most children have a hard time with handwriting due to the way they hold the pencil. While I am at work at a preschool or in field observing, I am constantly showing children how to correctly hold a pencil. I guess for them it is a hard concept to grasp, especially since the closest thing they’ve probably held in there hand was a writing utensil. I think this is something more teachers and parents should be made aware of. Im sure in addition to the monkey bars, there are other activities or games that help children improve their handwriting skills.

  2. pff6192 December 3, 2012 at 5:39 am #

    I’m glad posted about this Mea it was really interesting. I know we are both Writing Arts Dual Majors in and Elementary Education, so it is good to know that in our classrooms when children go outside to play, they are improving their writing skills and other gross motor skills that will help us be able to further and better educate them.

  3. elizabethspengler December 20, 2012 at 3:59 am #

    Wow!! I never knew this little fact. However, it makes complete sense. It is so true with the point that you made when you said that when you were little, you don’t realize that the fun things that you do could benefit you in the long run. Learning this is very beneficial, not only to my future students while they are at recess, but also as a future mother when deciding what equipment to put into the back yard.

  4. Meri May 1, 2013 at 8:30 pm #

    We home school and me pre-ker( he is 5) has struggled with his hand writing all year long, we have worked on a letter a week sense Aug, and many letters we worked on for several weeks before mastering them. In the last few weeks he has mastered the monkey bars on the swing set, and in the last couple of weeks his hand writing has taken off, he has mastered the entire second half of the alphabet plus writing his numbers in the last week. Wish I had known the benefits of monkey bars in the fall lol, we would have been spending more time swinging from them and less time sweating the writing lol.

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