Using rulers employs a skill called “bilateral coordination” which is using both hands for one joint task, but each hand is working on a different task. For example, when you cut paper, one hand holds the paper while the other manipulates the scissors. One task with each hand doing something different. Another example – stringing beads. One hand is steadily holding the string while the other is grabbing, manipulating, and threading the bead onto the string.
When you draw with a ruler the “together but separate” relationship continues. One hand holds the ruler steadily and in an unmoving position while the other holds the marker and moves. You are activating connections between both sides of the brain when you engage in this skill.
I always joke that I fall in love with preschool every day and it’s through little things like this. I model using a ruler to draw a line from one end to the other and invariably there are a handful of kids who exclaim, “I can do that! It’s so easy” and friends – it’s not. It’s hard for little hands! This process is a joy to watch as they can usually master it in one setting and to see them go from shaky, incomplete, short lines to long, smooth lines is just the cutest thing in the world. I love these little baby humans.