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Squiggle Whilst You Wiggle

You may have heard your child talking about something called Squiggle Whilst You Wiggle which Reception class use as part of their development of handwriting. 

Squiggle Whilst You Wiggle is an early writing program created by Shonette Bason-Wood. It incorporates dance, music and large movements to help children develop the fine muscle control they need for writing. They will learn a new gross motor movement to a piece of music while holding ‘flappers’ (bits of fabric) while dancing along to the music. The children then transfer these movements to floor level and swap their flappers for writing tools (crayons/pens etc) to make marks which could be in foam, on paper, in sand, etc. They will then use this action to think of letters they can form that use this shape. These sessions are great fun but most importantly help your child to be confident mark makers.

Shonette Bason-Wood is incredibly fun as she motivates and excites children to engage in this program. It’s all about mark making and Shonette will show you how to develop children’s writing in a fun and exciting and extremely active way.  

How to Squiggle Whilst You Wiggle at home 

If you would like to try it at home watch the videos below, grab some flappers (could be tissues, tea towels, scarves or bits of material), find some mark making tools and turn the music up.  Once you have completed the movements and the mark making see which letters you can see on your paper. If you search Squiggle Whilst You Wiggle on Youtube you will find a range of songs to enjoy while you are Squiggling. 

Squiggle Whilst You Wiggle – Motor Skills

Shonette and the ‘Spread the Happiness Crew’ demonstrate the first three moves in the Squiggle While You Wiggle teaching method for writing.

Motor Skills – Squiggle Whilst You Wiggle Part 1

Squiggle Whilst You Wiggle – Forming Circles

The video below demonstrates the movements for forming circles which can help with early years development. These movements are in preparation for writing numbers 0, 6 and 9 and letters c, o, a, d, g and p.

Squiggle Whilst you Wiggle – Circles

Squiggle Whilst You Wiggle – The Hump

The link below shares a section from Shonette Bason’s Squiggle While You Wiggle seminar – demonstrating how to mark make in early years.

Why use two flipper flappers and two writing tools? 

In the video below Shonette explains why we use two flipper flappers and two writing tools in each hand while engaging in the program. She also explains how we perform movements which will help with line letters i, l, j and line numbers 1, 4 and 7

Hopefully, the videos and explanations have been helpful. Enjoy Squiggle Whilst You Wiggle at home with your child/children.

At Grimley and Holt Primary School the children learn to form and join their letters through the Nelson Handwriting scheme. This approach links phonics, spelling and handwriting together. It starts in Reception and is continued through to Year 6. In Reception and Key Stage 1, daily handwriting sessions take place; in Key Stage 2 each class has a weekly handwriting session where the teacher demonstrates the formation of patterns, letters and joins.

Handwriting is a huge part of the 2014 National Curriculum and is always a priority. By the end of Key Stage 2, children need to be able to write using a joined font with efficiency, fluency and speed. It is important that children develop good habits from an early age.

Key terms used in school

  • Clockwise / Anticlockwise
  • Vertical / Horizontal
  • Diagonal
  • Ascender (letters that reach the top of the line b,d,f,h,k,l,t)
  • Descender (letters that fall below the line f,g,j,p,y)
  • Break Letters (letters that do not join (b,g,j,p,q,x,y,z)
  • Parallel
  • Sloped


The children will be taught four main joins. These are:

FIRST JOIN: To letters without ascenders (um ig)

SECOND JOIN: To letters with ascenders (for example ch ol)

THIRD JOIN: Horizontal joins (for example od ve)

FOURTH JOIN: Horizontal joins to letters with ascenders (wl of)

Position and Posture

Children need to be sitting up straight with their feet flat on the floor. However, it is
important they need to feel comfortable and relaxed. Children should be encouraged to
have their paper positioned straight in front of them or with a slight slant.

Pencil Grip

Right Handers: Tripod grip – pencil should be held between the thumb and forefinger,
roughly about 2/3cm from the tip and the middle finger should provide extra support.
The pencil/pen should rest on the end joint of the middle finger and the other fingers should
rest lightly on the paper. The pencil should be held lightly and in a relaxed manner.

Left Handers: The method is very similar apart from the grip of the pencil being
slightly higher so the child is able to see what has been written. This will also mean their
writing is not smudged by their hand.

How can you help?

Most importantly, you can show your child that you value and admire their handwriting skill.
Have a small selection of handwriting materials readily available at home. This could
include, soft pencils (B Grade), fibre-tip pens and some sheets of A4 typing paper.
Let handwriting play a part in your family’s daily life, for example:

  • making lists and labels
  • keeping a family diary
  • leaving notes for each other in busy households
  • keeping in touch with distant friends and relatives
  • designing and making home-made notelets, greetings cards and menus.

This website offers great ideas and guidance:

Handwriting | Oxford Owl

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