When we think about letter formations, we need to think about vertical, horizontal, and diagonal lines.  The perception of diagonals for block play and drawing does not develop until approximately between 4 1/2 years and 5 years of age.  So its much easier for a 5 year old to draw a diagonal line than a three yearold to do so. 

We learn through our body first, then through three dimensional play such as  blocks, and finally through two dimensional play such as drawing on paper. Diagonal perception develops as we experience our arms crossing our body from one side to the other using trunk rotation (upper body rotating over lower body).  Our left hand/arm should easily cross over to the right side of the body and vice versa for the right hand/arm.  Take your hand/arm and draw a very large diagonal in the sky.  See how your hand/arm moves from one side of your body to the other.  A child must be able to draw a large digaonal in the air moving in this way to then transfer the concept to paper.

With summer being here, outside play is one of the best ways to encourage trunk rotation and the use of each hand crossing the body’s midline.  Try hula hoops, loosely tying ribbons on the wrists for dancing to music, playing on the monkey bars, obstacle courses, moving from lying on your stomach to sitting up.  Encourage watching t.v. or playing games while lying on your stomach.  Discourage reverse “W” sitting (legs to the side and back making a “W”). Encourage side sitting and “criss cross applesauce” sitting.

Have FUN!!!!! My book Alphabet Soup: Stirring Your Child’s Interest in Letters through Practical Play is available at my website.



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Alphabet Soup: Fun Activities to Stir Your Child's Interest in Letters by Lyn Armstrong O.T.R


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