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How to Support Children in the Development of Tripod Grasp

What is a tripod grasp? A tripod grasp is when the three points of pressure are on a pencil or other writing tool. For a child at the end of their preschool days, it is good to see them writing with their fingers toward the writing side of the marker or pencil and with the pads of the pointer finger, middle finger and thumb on the marker shaft. Eventually, the pencil rests on the side of the middle finger at the tip. Not all people get to this place. I’ve noticed there is a variety in how adults hold a writing tool, but it makes sense to use the tripod grasp as a marker to move a child’s pencil grasp along the development line. Without understanding the end goal, it’s difficult to know when the child has succeeded in doing the tripod grasp over and over again.

Why is Tripod Grasp Preferred by Educators?

A tripod grasp is preferred is because it allows for more movement ability and, therefore, faster and smaller writing, which is what the eventual functional goal seems to be for late elementary grades and up. Line spaces get thinner and writing length expectations expand.

How is Tripod Grasp Developed?

I am often approached on how to have a child hold a pencil in this grasp. “How do I get them to change their grasp?” The answer is by strengthening their core, shoulder and arm first. Grasp development support starts in young babies. Tummy time and crawling support grasp development and any strengthening up the developmental processes continues and builds on this support.

Strengthening Exercise for the Tripod Grasp

In my video, you can better understand why strengthening of core, shoulder and arms is crucial to assisting children in developing their tripod grasp, and, I even give you a fun strengthening activity you can do in circle time to strengthen the shoulders. So be sure to continue to provide strengthening activities for your children. It pays off in big ways in their fine motor skills.

Want More Videos on Pencil Grasp?

Please check out my other video for more support on pencil grasp by clicking here!

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