I swear, if I want to teach my kid something I absolutely must make it into a game or sneak it in their day disguised as some other exciting activity.
Trying to develop pre-writing skills for preschoolers is no different, and I have a few activities that I’ve used in the past that made me feel good about encouraging my kid to be a better writer, but didn’t bore him to tears in the process.
Try some of these out and you just might have the next Shakespeare on your hands!
1. Get messy with slime
To be honest, this is just as fun for me as it is for my kid (if not more so).
I really like taking the time to make a few batches of slime in different colors to play with in an effort to de-stress. Some people take a spa day, I like to play with slime. Don’t judge me.
Playing with slime is a really fun way to increase hand strength and dexterity that can greatly influence your child’s motor skills to help them with activities such as grasping a pencil later on.
They won’t even notice it, but it’s like they’re doing a workout for their hands.
Making slime is a pretty simple process. To make a small batch, just mix 4 ounces of glue, ½ of a tablespoon of baking soda, and ¼ of a tablespoon of contact solution. You may adjust the amount of contact solution depending on what your preferred texture is.
If you want to get really creative with it, you can also add food coloring and glitter to make the slime even more intriguing.
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2. Connect the dots
“Connect the dots” worksheets are a great way to sharpen pre-writing skills for preschoolers. You can find a variety of printable worksheets here.
I suggest using worksheets that have the alphabet if you’re really serious about focusing on their writing skills because it makes them think about letters as they focus on the physical act of holding the writing utensil to follow the pattern.
Connecting the dots gives your child the challenge of engaging their brain and hands to follow a pattern which will easily translate into ultimately following the necessary pattern to write letters and form coherent words and sentences.
Not only is this activity helpful for developing your child’s skills, but it also requires virtually no money or prep time and you can hand a sheet to your kiddo to keep them entertained while you get other things done. (Or while you take a breather.)
3. Paint a picture
Sure, you could stick to coloring, but let’s face it – painting is just so much more exciting.
While there is a lot more clean up involved than simply putting away the box of crayons, taking out the paints, the brushes, and the aprons really gets your child’s interest to pique. More interest means more effort put into the activity.
Holding a paint brush is a little different than holding a regular pencil or crayon, so it will give your child an opportunity to strengthen muscles they might not be using regularly, and I feel way better about letting my kid make a mess if I know it’s for the greater good.
Teaching your child to braid can help them shift their focus to performing a specific and intricate task with their little hands which may greatly enhance their pre-writing skills.
You may choose to teach your child how to braid their own hair, or yours if it is long enough, but if neither of you have long locks, you can opt to use colorful yarn.
I’ll be honest, I tried to let my boy braid my hair and ended up having to sweetly, yet firmly, suggest we try the yarn instead. I ended up combing some knots out of my hair.
I suggest kicking things off with just a beginner’s French braid using three strands.
Practicing braids is a useful way to sharpen hand-eye coordination, which is one of the most vital pre-writing skills for preschoolers.
5. Roll out the alphabet
Playing with fun textures is always a hit for little ones, and for this exercise I like to use children’s playing dough which you can choose to purchase, or if you like making a mess for the sole purpose of proving to yourself that you can be creative, you can choose to make your own.
Have your child roll out the dough to make the alphabet. This will help them think of letters and how they’re formed outside of just on paper. If you have enough dough and time, have them make both capital and lower-case letters.
After they have rolled out the alphabet, for an added exercise, have them cut up the pieces with children safe scissors before putting them back in containers. Using the scissors adds an extra work out which helps those little hand muscles to keep developing.
6. Letter hopscotch
We’ve all played a good old game of hopscotch, but for this activity, as opposed to using numbers, we’re going to use letters.
You can choose to draw out the pattern and write in the letters that you want to use for your game on a piece of paper and then hand your child some chalk so they can recreate it on the pavement.
When choosing the letters that will go in the boxes, I suggest you spell something out. Alternatively, you can use letters that you know they’ve had trouble with in the past. As they hop on each box, have them holler out the letters.
Not only is this good for reinforcing the alphabet and giving them a chance to practice writing, but it’s also a great way to get your kid outdoors and force you to get a little extra cardio in.
There’s an overwhelming amount of pressure for parents to educate their children and entertain them as well, so any time there’s a chance to do both, I jump on it!
Just remember that the most important part of encouraging your child’s writing is helping them develop their motor skills. The rest will fall into place!