The education system is keen to get children writing from a young age, an age where not even all the small bones in their wrists are developed.
As parents, it's important that we understand it's not usual for children to write from a young age. In fact with us starting children at school so young in this country, it's important we are informed enough to know what we can do to support children appropriately.
So getting ready to write is about SO much more than having a pencil and paper to hand, that is the VERY LAST stage - I have a full post on this here.
In the meantime facilitate an environment that encourages lots of crawling, reaching, climbing and balancing to help build their core and shoulder strength, so important for writing. Make dens, draw under tables, crawl, play with cars, puzzles and small world toys on the floor.
Give them open ended resources to allow their imagination to flourish; this will help them to have ideas about what to write when the time comes.
Finally, continue to do this even when they are older, it will continue to benefit them as they grow - oh, and don't forget to have fun with it all!
Developing a good quality pincer grip is an important part of being able to use the dynamic tripod grip for writing. Finger strength is a really important part of this and there are lots of fun activities that you can do to help this, without even picking up a pencil.
Think outside the box. When it comes to these activities it's not necessary to spend money on toys, there is so much we can utilise around the home. Children really enjoy using more open ended resources so see what they do with the resources themselves, you can model and play alongside them but try not to hijack their thought process.
I love play-dough and all the opportunities it creates for fine motor development, squeezing it in our hands, doing dough disco and pushing different buttons into it are just a couple of examples.
Threading in lots of different ways, utilising pegs, children's tweezers and chopsticks, posting buttons through a home-made letter box (shoe box with a fine hole made in the lid), baking and shaving foam in a tray. An old jar with elastic bands to put over and peeling stickers off their page and decorating a box or picture.
There is so much fun to be had, children often engage better with these open ended resources than they do with fancy, shiny toys so have a look round and see what you may be able to utilise.
I genuinely miss these days of early play, they were such fun with my two; still, I love getting beaten at frustration every night as well - honest !