Ink cartridges, fountain pens and blotting paper. They may sound like something out of the dark ages, but that’s what I used when I learnt to write. And it really wasn’t that long ago. Honest.
I used to love the whole routine of it: putting a brand new cartridge in my fountain pen and pushing it in until the seal pierced, scribbling on a piece of scrap paper until I had an even flow of ink and then scratching my letters out as neatly as I could in my handwriting book.
It’s only now that BB’s learning to write that I’ve remembered how much I loved learning to write myself – and perhaps it was one of the first signs of the journalist I would become.
So I was rather pleased when at BB’s last parents’ evening we were told by her teacher that despite being a summer baby and one of the youngest in her class she’s performing above the expected level when it comes to writing.
As the daughter of two journalists – and a stay-and-work-at-home mum who sits her at the table with a pen and paper after school while I work – perhaps it’s not surprising, but either way we’re keen to encourage her.
So how can we help?
BB is being taught cursive handwriting (I’d never heard of it either – it was italics in my day) so the first thing was to find out what that actually is. Pen company uni-ball explain it really well on their website, where you’ll also find a free downloadable worksheet on how to teach cursive handwriting to kids along with lots of free handwriting worksheets for kids and tips for improving handwriting.
All you do is click on the worksheets to download and print them – perfect for the school holidays to keep them occupied and reinforce what they’re learning at school.
We’ve also been trying to make handwriting as fun as possible by using different types of pens and different types of writing.
5 easy ways to make handwriting fun
1. Invest in glitter pens. And gel pens. And gold and silver pens – and pens in every colour of the rainbow. Uni-ball very kindly sent us a selection of their glitter and gel pens and BB’s been like a child in a sweet shop trying them all out. They’ve even got pens which write on wood and glass – just watch where you let them loose with those ones!
2. Buy novelty stationery. New stationery brand GOGOPO – like Smiggle but cheaper – has all sorts of fun stationery from ice cream erasers to pens with fluffy balls on the end all for between £3 and £5. And yes that is an eraser that fits on the end of your finger and looks like a human finger.
3. Get them a secret diary. You know the ones, with a little padlock and a tiny set of keys. My mum and dad bought BB one for her birthday this year and she loves it – I have absolutely no idea what’s in it, but every single night before she goes to sleep she sits in bed scribbling away before locking it up and hanging up the key.
4. Write birthday and Christmas lists. No sooner is BB’s birthday over than she’s started her Christmas list, and vice versa. Her list of wants changes so frequently that said lists need constant updating, therefore there’s constant opportunity for handwriting. We basically have year-long rolling Christmas and birthday lists in our house!
5. Thank you cards. There’s nothing like a new set of glitter pens to coax BB into writing thank you cards, which kills two birds with one stone: getting the thank you cards done with minimum fuss while practising handwriting. If you struggle getting them to write thank yous and you haven’t tried glitter pens then do it!
Did you learn to write with ink cartridges and fountain pens? Do you have a little person learning to write and what are your top tips for helping them learn? I’d love to hear what they are!
This post was written in collaboration with uni-ball. We were sent a range of uni-ball pens as well as the GOGOPO stationery free of charge in exchange for this review. As always all opinions are my own and based on my own honest experience, and I would never recommend products I don’t truly believe in.