Monday, March 12, 2018

From the 'Bad News for the Future of Scale Model Building' Department

The Guardian reports that young children entering school are having difficulty holding a pencil and learning how to write, and mentions that Sally Payne, the head paediatric occupational therapist at the Heart of England foundation NHS Trust had this to say as to the cause,

Payne said the nature of play had changed. “It’s easier to give a child an iPad than encouraging them to do muscle-building play such as building blocks, cutting and sticking, or pulling toys and ropes. Because of this, they’re not developing the underlying foundation skills they need to grip and hold a pencil.”

Can’t grip a pencil is likely a small hop, skip and jump from can’t grip an X-Acto knife.

Hey, you kids, get that laser cutter off my lawn :-)


  1. Coming back to this one after some serious thought. My own two boys are adept with an Xbox controller, PC mouse or tablet. Their handwriting is atrocious, spelling terrible. This is troubling as I consider these foundational skills. What gives me hope is their unbounded creativity and access to knowledge. I had a set of encyclopedias that I only occasionally cracked open when a research paper for school required it. They have the internet. I played with Lego. They create immense structures in Minecraft (with circuitry, sometimes). I watched whatever tepid television tripe was on, created by Hollywood producers to sell products. They can seek out informative and entertaining videos on YouTube created by peers with passion to share.

    While they do from time to time engage in 'cutting and sticking', it is only because we as parents have provided them with the paper, scissors and glue to do so. And yes, there are times we have to limit the screens and encourage them to do something else. The good news is that they readily find something hands-on to do and are quite happy to engage in that.

    1. That's the good thing about this era, the amount of information and just plain stuff that is available. We don't have to be satisfied with what comes our way, with some effort, we can seek out things that we can really connect with.

      Around about the time I posted this, I was overhearing conversations, and participating in a few, where younger people were talking about the things they didn't know how to do (complaining a bit too), which included, changing car tires, starting a fire in a fireplace and replacing a door knob. I don't know what to make of that, maybe it's normal variation in skills in the population, maybe it signals something. I can't fix car engines, and society didn't end because of it :-) Just changing times.

      And I couldn't spell well either much to my parents dismay. I was very glad when spell check was invented :-)