Children need to develop the muscles in their hands before they can grip writing implements correctly and it's really important that children are given opportunities to do this.
There are many ways to do this including finger gym, playing with playdough, sensory messy play etc.
Another great way to develop hand muscles is toothpaste! Yes toothpaste!
Toothpaste comes in a vessel very similar to writing icing......a writing implement ready to go and ready for a good squeeze.
Toothpaste can be purchased very cheaply in supermarkets for this activity. It makes a great sensory activity as the smell is sublime. If used on black cardboard it looks amazing and provides another experience for children to observe when it dries into a powdery substance. Cotton wool also sticks really well to it acting like glue.
You can also use it on a tray to make marks with and practice letter / number formation.
I only use this with older children and have to be very careful of allergies, skin conditions etc.
Brilliant for language development too.......how many words can you think of to describe it?