Pre Writing Activity Ideas to Help Prepare for Kindergarten – Preferred Therapy Toys (2024)

This entry was posted in Uncategorized on April 14, 2017 by preferredtherapytoys@hotmail.com (updated 1290 days ago)


As a pediatric Occupational Therapist working in the schools, I work with many preschoolers on pre writing and early writing skills development to help to prep them for kindergarten. Having solid foundational skills are SO important for writing skill development! While we work on many activities to facilitate classroom success, here are a few tricks I use specifically to support writing skill development. I have also used these tools with my preschool daughter and have seen great success:

*this post contains Amazon affiliate links for ease with finding recommended tools/toys

1-Coloring/Drawing on a Slanted or Vertical Surface

Use of a vertical surface is great for proximal arm strengthening skills! Both slanted surfaces and vertical surfaces also help to support wrist stabilization (wrist touching paper) which is important for developing more isolated coloring skills and hand movement skills. I love using an Easel with chalk and also use bath crayons in the tub! When the weather is warm we will sometimes take paint brushes and water and have the kids “paint” the walls outside. When seated at the table, you can make your own slant board by using a large binder with the larger side facing away from the child.

Pre Writing Activity Ideas to Help Prepare for Kindergarten – Preferred Therapy Toys (2)

As a mom, sometimes I am a little nervous about using Bath Crayons and staining. I really like these bath crayons (pictured below) as they wipe off easily if you wipe designs off right away when done with bath time (but always do a test in your own tub.) I often will have my daughter wipe her designs down with a wash cloth at the end of bath time to work on more arm strengthening skills! This activity has been one of my favorite “mom” hacks as it has been an easy activity to practice on busy school nights!

Pre Writing Activity Ideas to Help Prepare for Kindergarten – Preferred Therapy Toys (6)Pre Writing Activity Ideas to Help Prepare for Kindergarten – Preferred Therapy Toys (7)

Pre Writing Activity Ideas to Help Prepare for Kindergarten – Preferred Therapy Toys (8)
2- Use of broken crayons or Crayon Rocks

All of the crayons I use with my pre school kids are broken crayons! This promotes use of a tripod grasp pattern(thumb, pointer finger, and index finger) which is the optimal grasp to use for writing tasks to promote hand movement with writing vs arm movement and to prevent hand/arm fatigue. I like to use the Crayola wide crayons and break them into smaller pieces. I also recently got some Crayon Rocks that I absolutely LOVE because they are small to promote a tripod grasp and are super smooth and even have a little grove for thumb placement!

Pre Writing Activity Ideas to Help Prepare for Kindergarten – Preferred Therapy Toys (10)Pre Writing Activity Ideas to Help Prepare for Kindergarten – Preferred Therapy Toys (11)

3-Use of various mediums to practice drawing of pre writing lines

Some ideas include finger paint, chalk, sand, whipped cream, etc. Pre writing lines include vertical lines, horizontal lines, circles, etc. Kids love using finger paint and different mediums to make this activity fun and play based. This is also a great multi sensory play activity! Instead of using shaving cream, I like using whipped cream, so if kids want to taste it as well, it is OK. I love using this My First Crayola Touch Lights, Musical Doodle Board that lights up and plays music as well. There is also a new smaller compact version of this board that does not change color or play music but I love that it has the gel board on one side and then a dry erase crayon board on the other-My First Crayola Double Doodle Board, Drawing Tablet, Toddler Toy, Gift. I will usually have kids work on pre writing lines in pre school and when they are ready, start with learning to trace, copy, then write their first name.

Pre Writing Activity Ideas to Help Prepare for Kindergarten – Preferred Therapy Toys (13)Pre Writing Activity Ideas to Help Prepare for Kindergarten – Preferred Therapy Toys (14)

4-Use of Play Dough and Play Foam to Practice Forming Letters

Playdough and play foam are great for creative play and hand strengthening. They are also a fun way to practice with forming letters as well! This is a wonderful way to introduce letters in a play based way!

5-Learning Without Tears-(previously Handwriting Without Tears)

This is my FAVORITE pre writing and writing program for pre school and early elementary school aged kids. I love that it is a multi sensory program and the great songs they have to support writing activities. The kids really love these songs and remember them too! I have seen HUGE success with this program both with the kids that I work with in the schools and clinic, and also with my daughter! I love using mat man and song with pre schoolers for learning to draw a person, and wooden pieces for big line, little line, big curve, little curve with songs for early letter skill development. Here is a picture my daughter drew of her first mat man, after only building him and listening to the song one time. Before hearing this song and building mat man, she drew a bunch of scribbles. Pretty awesome right?!!!

When teaching kids about writing letters, I highly recommend following the Learning Without Tears progression and starting with teaching the upper case alphabet, as these are easier to form because there are only 4 different lines to draw-big line, little line, big curve, little curve. When teaching letters, I like to start with the “frog jump capitals” (BDRPEFMN) as there is a cute song that goes with it, and then move on to the “sliding to the end of the alphabet letters”(VWXYZ) which are corner starters as there is a great song that goes with this lesson too. Check out Youtube for these song in action! Here are just a few of the Learning Without Tears/ Handwriting Without Tears supplies I like to use, more info about this program and music CDs on the Learning Without Tears Website-https://www.lwtears.com
Pre Writing Activity Ideas to Help Prepare for Kindergarten – Preferred Therapy Toys (18)Pre Writing Activity Ideas to Help Prepare for Kindergarten – Preferred Therapy Toys (19) Pre Writing Activity Ideas to Help Prepare for Kindergarten – Preferred Therapy Toys (20)

Another multi sensory pre writing tool I like to use are these fun magnetic letters similar to the above wooden letters:
Pre Writing Activity Ideas to Help Prepare for Kindergarten – Preferred Therapy Toys (21)Pre Writing Activity Ideas to Help Prepare for Kindergarten – Preferred Therapy Toys (22)

6. Activities for Visual Motor Skills Development-

I love using games and activities with my pre schoolers and early elementary aged kiddos that work on visual motor skills, as they are a really fun way to work on foundational skills important for development of writing in the future. Many of these activities you can use with items you already have at home! Using bubbles and practicing popping with a finger, and tossing/ catching scarves, and coloring within boundaries of a picture are great for promoting early visual motor skill development (hand-eye-coordination skills.) Balloon volleyball or tossing/catching balloons are also a nice way to work on early visual motor skills. Once your kids have mastered using these slower moving items, you can start practicing ball skills and even work up to bowling!
Pre Writing Activity Ideas to Help Prepare for Kindergarten – Preferred Therapy Toys (23)Pre Writing Activity Ideas to Help Prepare for Kindergarten – Preferred Therapy Toys (25)Pre Writing Activity Ideas to Help Prepare for Kindergarten – Preferred Therapy Toys (26)Pre Writing Activity Ideas to Help Prepare for Kindergarten – Preferred Therapy Toys (27)Pre Writing Activity Ideas to Help Prepare for Kindergarten – Preferred Therapy Toys (28)

7. Do a Dot Marker Activities

Use of Dot markers are a fun activity for pre school aged kids! I love that it works on early visual motor skill development as the child has visual boundaries to place the dots in. As your child gets older you can also use these worksheets with crayons and color within the circles which is great for practice of isolated coloring skills. I love using this website: DLTK Kids for FREE dot marker printables! You can also practice letter skills and have your child make letters or trace letters with the dot markers.
Pre Writing Activity Ideas to Help Prepare for Kindergarten – Preferred Therapy Toys (30)

8.Fine Motor Activities that work on use of a Tripod Grasp Pattern-Pre Writing Activity Ideas to Help Prepare for Kindergarten – Preferred Therapy Toys (31)

Using a tripod grasp (thumb, pointer finger, and middle finger) is the optimal grasp when using a writing utensil. As mentioned above, use of broken crayons or broken pieces of chalk help to promote this grasp pattern. Practice of manipulating smaller items help with promoting this grasp as well and also help with hand strengthening skills, here are some ideas:

-stringing beads on string or pipe cleaner or string (you can also use circular cereal pieces or pasta,)

-finding hidden items (beads, coins) in play dough or thera-putty

-pulling apart cotton balls for crafts

-use of smaller beads and legos with resistance

*for more fine motor/hand strengthening activity ideas with items from your home, check out one of my past blog posts-http://www.preferredtherapytoys.com/fun-and-easy-hand-strengthening-activities-for-preschoolers-and-early-elementary-aged-kids/

9.Use of Technology

My favorite tablet app for pre writing skills is Writing Wizard. I love that you can practice pre writing lines, upper case letters, lower case letters, and even some words. This app provides nice visual cues for each step of tracing the letter and is more forgiving than other apps with tracing, so children don’t get frustrated. My kids LOVE this app!
Pre Writing Activity Ideas to Help Prepare for Kindergarten – Preferred Therapy Toys (33)Pre Writing Activity Ideas to Help Prepare for Kindergarten – Preferred Therapy Toys (34)

I hope you find these activity suggestions helpful for pre writing and early writing fun 🙂 If you have any further questions in this area, please feel free to email me.

By Kim Heyer OTR/L

Pre Writing Activity Ideas to Help Prepare for Kindergarten – Preferred Therapy Toys (2024)

References

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Dr. Pierre Goyette

Last Updated:

Views: 6696

Rating: 5 / 5 (70 voted)

Reviews: 85% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Dr. Pierre Goyette

Birthday: 1998-01-29

Address: Apt. 611 3357 Yong Plain, West Audra, IL 70053

Phone: +5819954278378

Job: Construction Director

Hobby: Embroidery, Creative writing, Shopping, Driving, Stand-up comedy, Coffee roasting, Scrapbooking

Introduction: My name is Dr. Pierre Goyette, I am a enchanting, powerful, jolly, rich, graceful, colorful, zany person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.