Did you know that the action of pulling and tearing a piece of scotch tape uses the exact muscles as writing? I didn't either. My son's preschool teacher taught me that. She told me to give him free range with lots and lots and lots of scotch tape. This would greatly help his ability to learn how to write. It was left out in the OPEN at his preschool, for gawd's sake. They could tape whenever they wanted. Just not on each other.
Me: Well...I don't know if I want him wasting scotch tape. (I know I have a thing with wasting. I did not know I had scarcity scotch tape issues)
Teacher: Really. (not even pretending to play nice with me) How much money do you spend on educational toys? Tape, scissors and chopsticks are the best things you could let him play with right now.
SCOTCH TAPE. Who. Knew. So I put my scarcity issues aside and let him rip it all day long. He lo-lo-loved it!
SCISSORS. Same 2 finger-and-a-thumb action that builds the muscles needed in writing. Hm.
I was a scaredy cat about leaving scissors AND scotch tape out, unsupervised. Turns out that when you do, you may not exactly get some brilliant artwork...but you'll have one focused kids with busy hands. And I think the combo helped keep him busy enough to not cut hair, the rug or anything else out of bounds. I've always been able to leave these supplies out and not have it be abused.
CHOPSTICKS also build those same muscles. I bought the kind that are connected to help with frustration level. He's always loved his. For Small Hands is a great Montessori catalog that sells all kinds of things for busy hands. These are true educational toys. Ones that really help with building your child's autonomy.
But really. Scotch tape!! And all this time I'd been parsing out the scotch tape use, hoarding it like my grandmother. Dang.
Oh. And by the way, I'm told Pascal has the best handwriting in his class.