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Stitch / Strengthen

Hands, fingers, eyes, oh my! When it comes to writing an idea, students are often thwarted by the complex activity of coordinating the minute muscle movements of the hands and fingers holding a pencil, with the sight of the eyes and the idea stirring in the mind’s eye!

Stitching is a wonderful way to switch it up, setting the pencil aside (temporarily) to strengthen small motor ability.  Not only does sewing by hand require the pincher grasp that requires coordinating the thumb and pointer, but it requires coordinating the eyes in the process. Stitching by hand is a quiet, slow activity that requires patience.

Stitching leaves strengthen’s fine motor skills.

Many years ago I cut some very simple pinnately parallel, leaf-like shapes in calico fabrics. I popped the raw “leaves” into  a little basket with pre-threaded (with embroidery floss) needles and carved out time during fall for leaf stitching—half an hour would easily stretch to an hour with my little ones contentedly choosing two leaf shapes and stitching them together tenaciously. This seasonal tradition began with me teaching the running stitch, re-threading all the needles and moving quickly to my children confidently whip stitching and blanket stitching, even threading their own needles!

And guess what? Writing an idea became less painful. Skills gained during sewing transfers directly to the stitching of ideas crafted with pencil on paper.

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