Mazes are a very useful activity for children. They are also fun. They come in a variety of types. There are those for beginners and all levels after. There are those that follow straight lines and those that don't. There are those that have one start and finish, and those that have multiple starts and finishes. Some follow the white between the colour and some follow the colour. Some have wider tracks than others. Some have more corners and twists.
Benefits for children:
Mazes teach control of the pencil. The object is to follow the track without going over the lines. Therefore the child needs to control the direction of the line, stopping or slowing at corners. At the same time there is guidance. Its not like directing the pencil along an imaginary or unknown path such as learning to print letters is. There are boundaries to adhere to. And this gives guidance. At the same time the child needs to learn to think ahead and plan. They need to look where they intend going and plan the movements necessary to get there. So thinking, reasoning, planning and making the movements with control takes place.
Strategies to help:
1. Choose mazes that are clear, have wider tracks and less corners to start with.
2. Encourage the child to look at the maze first, maybe even following the tracks with eyes.
3. Suggest that the child use their finger the trace the path. This invites practice. And might minimize mistakes leading to more success and reinforcement for being able to do the activity. It may or may not help when it comes to using a pencil to do it, depending on how the child's memory works.
4. Encourage the child to draw slowly, looking ahead as they do it, and to slow down even more for corners so that the turn can be executed with care and planning.
5. Point out the great parts of what they have done. It is not just about getting to the end. Comment on the parts where the line did not touch the sides, where there was a definite angle at a corner, where you noticed that they thought ahead and drew with care.