Need help teaching your child to write their name? Looking to develop your child’s pre-writing skills? You’re in the right place!
When my daughter Emma was 4, she spent the majority of her time doing arts and crafts. She would spend hours cutting, gluing, coloring, and placing stickers on paper. She was totally ready for kindergarten without any pre-k experience because of the art projects we did on a daily basis.
My son Xander isn’t naturally inclined to do art. He just isn’t interested. He’d rather be looking at books, building with legos, or playing outside. Confused by the stark differences in my kids, I decided to find some new activities that would help my son get ready for kindergarten.
Pre-writing skills are defined as the strokes and lines that a preschooler needs to know before learning to write the letters of the alphabet. This includes the Vertical Line, Horizontal Line, Circle, Cross (+), Square, Right/Left Diagonal Line, X Shape, and Triangle. A child might learn to write letters before these lines/strokes, but in order to write the entire alphabet, they need to know these.
Here are the books, toys, and tools we are using to develop Xander’s pre-writing skills!
Disclosure: This post contains Amazon affiliate links. If you click on the link and purchase an item from Amazon, I will receive an affiliate commission.
1) Tracing Book
I bought Xander a dry erase tracing book like this: Wipe Clean Workbook: Pre-K by Scholastic Early Learners. I made a really big deal out of how “no one else gets to touch his kindergarten book” and he really became excited about it. The pages of this book are wipeable so he can do the activities over and over with a dry erase marker.
2) Dry Erase Pocket Sleeves
My sister brought my son some Dry Erase Pocket Sleeves. We were able to print out pages with his name, tracing shapes, and other various pages to help with his writing skills. I simply slip the printed sheet into the pocket and it instantly becomes a reusuable worksheet!
We gave Xander access to my daughter’s Melissa & Doug Easel. Having something new to draw on made writing more fun. Also, writing at an angle actually helps kids develop proximal arm strengthening skills which supports writing skill development.
4) Fridge Dry Erase Board
Another item that encourages children to get a writing tool in their hands is a Fridge Dry Erase Board like this one. This has a magnetic backing, so it sticks to your refrigerator. These come in many styles and sizes, so you are sure to find one that works for your family.
5) Dry Erase Markers
These EXPO Low Odor Dry Erase Markers with a Fine Tip make the perfect writing utensil for the dry erase items above. I love that the Fine Tip Markers are similar in size to a pencil versus chunky like a normal Expo Marker. The normal size Expo marker does have an advantage though, as they do have more ink inside. A fun fact is that Expo markers also come in a retractable clickable version that is handy if your kids are always leaving the lids off!
6) Pre-Writing Tracing Sheets
The real motivator for my son was finding tracing sheets that he was excited about like this Tracing Trails book. We found this free printable bus page with simple lines to trace. I also created a few printables as well that you can download for your child if you wish! I will include links at the bottom of the article!
7) Thin Line Markers
These Crayola Thin Line Markers were just the tool to get my 4 year old boy excited about writing! With lots of color choices and the thin pencil-like grip, these markers paired perfectly with our printable tracing worksheets.
8) Paint for Q-Tip painting
Another great tool in our toolbox has been these little paint pots. I give my son letter print-outs from The Measured Mom and he paints them with Q-Tips and this Crayola Washable Project Paint. My kids LOVE to paint. To make it less messy, you can spread out newspapers on your table…or use a plastic tablecloth and reuse it time and time again for art!
9) Making Roads & Race Tracks
My son adores playing with cars, trucks, and trains. A fun activity we have found is having him draw a road or race track on a sheet of paper. Usually, I demonstrate on a dry erase board and then he makes his own on a sheet of paper. You can bring a little extra excitement to the activity by gifting a new car to test drive his race track. (These blind bag Disney Cars are super fun!)
10) Alphabet Poster
A colorful alphabet poster is the final key to helping your child develop those pre-writing skills. I recommend placing it where your child can interact with it and refer to it as they draw. A number chart is also handy to help your child learn numbers. I have a children’s calendar in our main living area and I placed this fun 1-100 chart in my son’s room so that he can practice counting to 100. Kids learn “on the go” and through play.
So, if you have a child who is lacking pre writing skills, give these ideas a try! Your child will have fun while developing some of those pre-writing skills. I love it when learning is fun!
Here are the Free Pre-Writing Tracing Downloads:
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