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Writing Activities for Preschoolers
Providing writing activities for preschoolers helps foster strength and coordination needed for future handwriting. There are many activities that address fine motor skills. [Click here to read more about fine motor skills.] However here are a few pointers when choosing preschool writing activities.
Re-define “Writing activities”
When choosing writing activities for preschoolers move away from a pencil and paper. Many children 4-5 years old are not ready for writing activities that involve extensive use of a pencil or paper.
Drawing and coloring with a variety of mediums will be fun and stimulate fine motor skills needed for future writing. Our Strokes, Shapes and Scenes program (shown left) offer preschool writing activities such as drawing and coloring using visual demonstrations.
This DVD or downloadable program can be used in a preschool or at home. Below are a few other writing activities that will foster good writing skills.
Cutting activities for preschoolers stimulate two-hand coordination (bilateral coordination) as well as eye hand coordination.
Ripping activities for preschoolers foster finger strength and endurance.
Preschoolers using tongs will help reinforce grasping patterns and hand strength. Developing a functional grasping pattern is critical for success with future writing activities.
We demonstrate many of these wonderful preschool writing activities in our Fun Foundations for Handwriting DVD (shown left).
Build confidence with preschool writing activities
When choosing writing activities for preschoolers, be sure to choose activities that will build their confidence. Choosing activities that are too challenging or frustrating will hinder a child’s willingness to participate in writing activities. Preschool writing activities should also offer a child an opportunity to create and have fun. Preschoolers who are motivated to participate in fun pre-writing activities will feel happier and more confident about participating in writing activities.
When to introduce handwriting practice worksheets
Finding fun, age appropriate handwriting practice worksheets for preschoolers can be challenging. Our Alphabet Beats workbooks offer two levels of handwriting practice worksheets.
When introducing preschoolers to handwriting practice worksheets, watch for signs of frustration or refusal to attempt the writing task. This may indicate the child is not ready for handwriting or may need more time to develop fine motor and visual motor skills needed to perform the task. Writing activities should be short and sweet. Preschoolers will fatigue quickly when writing and we want them to feel a sense of success when they are finished with the writing task.
A fun way to motivate your preschooler
is to use our video modeling program, Alphabet Beats. They enjoy reciting the rhythmic chants on how to make each letter. Learning letters,along with our vocabulary words and silly skits,
is how we make learning to write easy and fun!
Pencil grasp is important when addressing handwriting practice or preschool writing activities. Kindergarten and preschool is where good grasping patterns for handwriting begins. When working with markers, crayons, stamps, and puzzles, preschoolers have an opportunity to work on grasping patterns. Click here to read more information on grasp.
Before attempting handwriting practice worksheets, it is a good idea to review pencil grasp. The TV Teacher’s Alphabet Beats program does a great job of reviewing pencil grasp by singing the “chopper song”. Click here to view the clip on YouTube.
Children learn to sing about pencil grasp and what fingers hold the pencil. Recent research has also indicated that there is not one correct grasp. Many grasps can be functional to use for handwriting practice.
Many preschoolers will have “picked” a hand to use for writing activities by ages 4 or 5 years. When a teacher offers handwriting practice worksheets, it is best to watch for children that may switch hands when writing. When a child switches hands it may indicate they have not established a hand dominance. If the preschool is using handwriting practice worksheets on a weekly or daily basis, it is important the child learn to make the letters or numbers with a consistent hand. Parents should watch for which hand the child picks up a spoon or fork with first during meal time.
If the child consistently picks up their utensils with the right hand, they are likely right handed. Click here to read more about handedness on our blog post. If the child switches hands during eating, they may be weak or have poor endurance to get through a meal using only one hand to manipulate the utensil. Using fine motor activities and writing activities may help strengthen a child’s hands and improve muscle endurance. Click here to read more about fine motor activities.
Please note that although in our programs, Miss Marnie demonstrates writing letters and formations using her right hand, our program is used successfully by many children who are left handed. The letter and formations are made the same way regardless of which hand is used. The rhythmic chant that is learned from our video demonstrations will assist the child in making the correct formation.