Learning Without Tears: The Grip

Part 3: Learning Without Tears- Grip

Close to 50 percent of three-year-olds have the fine motor ability to hold a small crayon correctly (Schneck & Henderson 1990).  But the correct grip that to be taught. Young children are pliable and can learn good habits.

The standard grip, also called the “tripod grip” uses three fingers to hold the crayon or pencil.  The thumb is bent, the index finger is to the tip of the crayon and the crayon rests on the side of the middle finger. The last two fingers are curled in the palm and give the hand stability.

An alternative grip called the “quadropod grip” (four fingers) is another way children may hold the crayon.  The thumb is bent, the index and middle finger point to the tip of the crayon, and the crayon rests on the ring finger.  This grip is efficient and does not need to be corrected.

The best tool for preschool aged children is a crayon. Crayons create a natural resistance and build strength in the hand. They prepare the hand for using a good pencil grip.  Children will do better with a short golf pencil or small crayon that is in proportion to their hands.  Fat primary pencils are too heavy and long for little hands.  Young children are motivated to learn new skills.  If they are holding a crayon or small pencil incorrectly, demonstrate the proper grip.

Lauren B. Lead Teacher, The Sharon Cooperative School