18 Ways to Teach Your PreSchooler to Write

8:54 pm Learning Fun

Here are some ways to get your child practicing his handwriting skills before he finishes preschool. With most of these, you’re aiming to strengthen his fine motor skills – the ones that are responsible for holding and guiding a pencil along a straight line.

  1. Give your child strips of paper and let her cut up into confetti. The strips shouldn’t be too thin or floppy. Make a smiley face on the upper hole where the thumb should go, to teach her how to hold the scissor properly. Start with shorter pieces of paper that she can cut with just one snip. Progress to longer pieces which need two snips of the scissor, and so on. Use blunt ended scissors. After a while, move on to snipping along a line on the paper. Draw squiggly lines, straight lines, circles. Let her cut around a picture. All these scissor cutting activities for preschoolers help control the movement of the scissors as it moves ahead to the next snip, and as it moves ahead to its goal, which is great practice for writing.
  2. Rip newspapers. This may seem like a boring task, but you’d be surprised at how much they enjoy it. Terrific for fine muscular development. Start with random ripping into small bits, then move to ripping on a line that you’ve drawn for her on the paper. For advanced practice, let her rip around a picture. Draw squiggly lines, and let her rip though them.
  3. Part of the problem with writing for most preschoolers comes with holding the pencil correctly. Place a piece of sponge in her palm, and let her close her ring finger and little finger around it. Now, let her use only the thumb, forefinger and middle finger to hold the pencil. Having to hold the piece of sponge with the last two fingers will make her hold the pencil tightly with the first three. Here’s how to do this.
  4. Cut out three holes in a sock, and let her insert her thumb, forefinger and middle finger in each hole before she attempts to practice writing. Again, this helps to reinforce the right way to hold a pencil.
  5. Give her beads, or cheerios, or pasta shapes, and some string to thread.
  6. Use lacing cards, or make some of your own by punching holes in cards – use old greeting cards. Lace a thick string through.
  7. Use thin crayons or chalk pieces for practice for beginners – they are easier to hold.
  8. Let her connect dots on paper. Use lined handwriting paper, and make two dots that will help her make vertical, horizontal and slanting lines. Have many such lines of dots for her to connect. This helps her draw straight lines for alphabet writing.
  9. Practice writing semi circles (like the letter “C” facing both ends). Use dots again to help her get the shape right. This gives practice for making perfect circles and semi circles for alphabets later.
  10. Let her trace the outlines of figures and drawings with crayons.
  11. Work on developing those minute finger muscles. Give her some play dough, and let her make small balls or sausage shapes out of them, using her thumb and forefinger only .
  12. Use tweezers for sorting activities. Let her pick up a bean or a pea with a pair of tweezers, and transfer into another bowl.
  13. Do spooning activities. Allow her to spoon dried beans from one bowl to another using her thumb, forefinger and middle finger to grasp the spoon and transfer the beans.
  14. Practice inserting keys into locks or keyholes.
  15. Take an old shoe box with the lid on, and make a slit on the lid. Practice inserting playing cards into the slit with her writing hand.
  16. Practice writing with her fingers in shaving foam, or in a tub of sand.
  17. Let her draw a picture, and sprinkle glitter inside the figure carefully, taking care to stay inside the lines as much as possible.
  18. Play with rubber bands. Let her wrap rubber bands around plastic bottles or glasses – it strengthens those very important little muscles.

Do you have more tricks to get your preschooler writing confidently?

17 Responses
  1. Steph :

    Date: April 2, 2008 @ 1:15 am

    So many great ideas to try, thank you!

  2. PreSchool Mama :

    Date: April 2, 2008 @ 1:17 am

    You’re welcome, Steph!

  3. Alison :

    Date: April 2, 2008 @ 3:58 am

    Kewl ideas! My eldest girls are really enjoying learning to write, we’ll definitely be trying some of these.
    At the moment their favourite activity is ‘writing’ letters with a texta on a liminated A4 sheet that has the dotted outline.

  4. PlanningQueen :

    Date: April 3, 2008 @ 3:58 pm

    Fantastic ideas again! I have used pegs a lot with my preschoolers. They seem to naturally like them anyway and you can do a number of different activities with them, from setting a small washing line, to making patterns to holding items together.

  5. PreSchool Mama :

    Date: April 3, 2008 @ 4:03 pm

    @Planning Queen, Ooohhh, lovely! Big gold star for you!

  6. PreSchoolMama » Blog Archive » Make a Nature Table With Your PreSchooler :

    Date: April 3, 2008 @ 4:31 pm

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  7. SeaBird :

    Date: April 4, 2008 @ 6:41 am

    Drawing letters in the sand at the beach/sandbox might be good, too. And ripping Kleenexes is very popular in our house :)

  8. Multi-Tasking Mommy :

    Date: April 10, 2008 @ 7:20 am

    Came across your site for the first time tonight. LOVIN it! I’m a former Kindergarten teacher and Mother to a 3 year old!
    GREAT ideas–thanks for sharing!

  9. April Link Round Up | simple mom :

    Date: May 5, 2008 @ 3:49 am

    [...] 18 Ways to Teach Your Preschooler to Write – Preschool Mama [...]

  10. Fragrance :

    Date: May 28, 2008 @ 10:28 am

    Came across this site and i m surely going to try these tips.
    my 3 yr old loves to sing and read out alphabets but when its anything to do with pencils – writing, colouring she does not like.

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    Date: June 13, 2008 @ 4:22 pm

    [...] It strengthens those fine finger muscles that will later lead to strength as she attempts to hold and manipulate a pencil. [...]

  12. learn english :

    Date: June 18, 2008 @ 2:26 pm

    These are wonderful tips – I will be trying them out on my kids and will let you know how I get on.

    Great site by the way

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    Date: August 7, 2008 @ 10:43 pm

    [...] Skills in PreSchoolers August 7, 2008 10:43 pm PreSchool Mama Games and Activities Here are some more ways you can encourage kids to exercise and strengthen those important  small finger muscles, so [...]

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