Before preschoolers can start writing, the muscles in their hands and fingers must be strengthened.
That can sound complicated, but really, it’s not. Developing pre-writing skills can be simple.
It can be as simple as using a whiteboard. The following activities are simple, require very few supplies – and are a great way to spend quality time with your child.
As an added bonus, they’ll help prepare your child’s hands and eyes for writing.
Here are five amazing pre-writing activities you can do with your three-year-olds:
Finger Tracing Letters
Before holding an implement, it helps to trace a letter with a finger. Doing so helps your child develop stronger familiarity, begin memorizing how to write letters, and adds a sensory aspect to forming letters.
You can employ multiple types of materials for tracing activities.
- Trace over your writing or tactile letters, like sandpaper letters or glitter glue letters. (Create these by drawing a letter in glitter glue on an index card.)
- Draw letters in sand or salt trays.
- Trace inside letter stencils on a light table, like I explain in this post.
1. Dot Painting
Your child can begin painting a picture of dots using his or her finger, then progress to using a Q-tip in the paint to letters, create pointillism art, or complete dot painting printables like these at 1+1+1=1.
Dot painting helps familiarize your children with letter and number shapes while practicing precision in placing their finger or the Q-tip.
Just playing with playdough is great for building strength in hands. Practice making balls, rolling playdough into snakes, or create fun designs.
3. Tally Marks
Place 4 blocks or objects in front of your child. Show your child how to make a tally mark for each block. It’s not important that you use a slash for the 5th object at this point if you are counting that high.
This is especially good for a child who is challenged by writing numerals. Tally marks to show the numeral 4.
4. Cutting Practice
Have your child work on fine motor and pre-writing skills by inviting your child to cut out pictures from old magazines.
Your child may choose to cut out toys, food, or just pictures of interest. Your child may also cut out letters or numbers that he/she recognizes.
This activity is easier than trying to cut on lines, but still requires hand strength and more advanced fine motor skills.