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Jump-start Your Child’s Handwriting: How Frog-Catching Builds Prewriting Skills!

It was twenty-four years ago and I remember it like it was yesterday. Dressed in her tutu and a princess crown, my four-year-old daughter walked slowly into the kitchen with her hands hovering over her crown.

“Mom, look what I found!” she said proudly with a twinkle in her eye.

It took me a moment to realize there was a frog perched on top of her head, peeking through her tiara. I didn’t have my camera ready but the image is ingrained in my mind.

child holding frog

Catching frogs is a timeless childhood pastime that has fascinated children for generations.

While it may seem like a simple and fun activity, catching frogs can actually provide a range of benefits for children, including the development of prewriting skills.

“Why did the Occupational Therapist take her students on a frog-catching expedition? To hop, skip, and jump-start their prewriting skills!”

Prewriting skills are the foundational skills that children need to master before they can begin writing letters and words. These skills include hand-eye coordination, fine motor control, gross motor skills, and spatial awareness, among others.

Let’s take a closer look at how catching frogs can help to develop each of these skills.

Fine motor control: When catching frogs, children need to use their hands and fingers in a precise way in order to gently scoop up these slippery creatures. This activity requires a high level of fine motor control, which involves the small muscles in the hands and fingers. Developing these muscles is critical for prewriting, as children need to be able to hold a pencil or crayon and make precise marks on paper.

boy holding frog

Hand-eye coordination: Catching a frog requires children to coordinate their hand movements with what they are seeing. They need to track the movement of the frog with their eyes, while positioning their hands and fingers to make the catch. Children need to be able to control the movements of their hands and fingers while they are writing or drawing.

boy holding frog in hands

Spatial awareness: Catching frogs also helps children develop spatial awareness, which is the ability to understand the relationships between different objects and shapes. When trying to catch a frog, children need to be aware of where the frog is in relation to their body, and they need to adjust their movements accordingly. This skill is important for prewriting because it helps children form letters and numbers more accurately.

Child pointing to frog

Gross motor skills: Catching frogs can also help to develop gross motor skills, which involve the larger muscles in the body that are necessary for posture, stability, and endurance. Children may need to climb over rocks or logs, balance on one foot, or jump in order to catch the frog. Developing gross motor skills can help children sit still and focus for longer periods of time, which is important for prewriting.

child catching a frog

In addition to these specific prewriting skills, catching frogs also develops a range of other skills for children including sustained attention, impulse control, observation skills, endurance, frustration tolerance, and increased confidence.

girl holding a frog

And if that wasn’t enough, children will also benefit from the therapeutic benefits of spending extended time in nature… just by spending time catching frogs.

When my daughter walked in with a frog on her head, I had no idea about all the benefits and skills she was learning, I just saw the joy on her face and the pride in her eyes.

Now, when I see a frog hopping by, I encourage my grandchildren to try and catch it. Not only will they have a ribbiting good time, but they will also be developing important prewriting skills that will serve them well as they begin their writing journey.

Frog on child's head

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