Tag Archives: pre-writing play

Your Best Pre-Writing Activities List: Target Key Skills And Have Fun!

The school year is coming up fast, and parents are wondering what skills their preschoolers are going to need.  Finding fun things to do with the rest of the summer that actually build skills, not just entertain the troops, isn’t easy, even for occupational therapists.  Here are my current favorites:

  1. Bring out the scissors and the Kumon Paper Playtime books.  Check out my post on both the best safe scissors   Lakeshore Scissors for Toddlers That Only Cut the Paper, Not the Toddler and these amazingly fun books.   Kumon Learn to Cut Books: Paper Truly Worth Snipping Up  Your child gets the chance to build two-handed coordination, visual-perceptual skills, manipulation of tape or glue (tape is my fave; no drying time).  Pricey, but totally worth it when you follow my instructions for wresting every penny of value out of these terrific books.
  2. LEGOs and PlusPlus building toys.  LEGOs, whether the DUPLO version or the tiny ones, make great creations that inspire imaginative, language-based play if you ask kids to go there.  Create a story about what the characters are doing, build them garages, hideouts, etc.  PlusPlus  Plus Plus Toy Review: This Toy Can Make Your Child Turn Off The Tablet allows kids to make 3-D creations as well, and you can choose between the large and the small size.  They are less detailed than LEGOs, so sometimes kids need some help to focus on what they are building ( house or airplane?) but we always like kids to direct their own creative play if they can. Only help if they seem to give up because they can’t figure out how to get started.   Great for finger strengthening, grading grasping force and perceptual skills.
  3. Melissa and Doug coloring pages, sticker pages, Wonder Wow water pen play Water Wow: Summer Pre-writing Fun on the Road, and of course, the Tape Activity Book Melissa And Doug Tape Activity Book Is Reusable Fun.  Nice thick paper that doesn’t tear and can be cut easily, fun graphics that inspire stories, and the water pen and tape get all those fingers working!  Other than the  Water Wow series, the rest require some finger control and are appropriate for kids beginning at the 4 year-old level of coordination and perceptual skills.  Water Wow is great for the 3’s, and is fun all the way into the 5’s.  Share with your sibs, guys!

Have fun with these, and post a comment with your own favorites!!

Summer Fun Pre-Writing Activities

Here in the U.S., summer is fully underway.   Pools, camps, and vacations!  Handwriting isn’t really on anyone’s radar.  Except mine.  Without practice, kids with learning differences, motor control issues, and visual-perceptual concerns can lose a lot of the skills that they worked so hard on all year long in therapy.

Here is a fun activity, not a boring worksheet, to keep or build pre-writing skills for preschoolers and kindergarteners.  Remember, into each summer some rain will fall, and there will be overcast days, or times when kids have to wait for a meal in a restaurant  while on vacation.  This activity can be a fun way to pass the time!

Ice Cream Cones

I picked this theme because ice cream is a food that most kids love, and the strokes/shapes needed have pre-writing value.  Your child will have no idea that she is building the visual-perceptual and finger control needed for handwriting instruction!

For the youngest pre-writers:  Draw an ice cream cone as below, at least 4-5 inches tall, and have your child aim for the “scoop” to wiggle their crayon, making sprinkles. I lightly colored in the scoop and drew lines on the waffle cone.  Younger children don’t always recognize a figure in a line drawing as easily as a completed one.  Their scribbles will be large, but demonstrate that our scribbles stay inside the scoop and are reversing vertical or horizontal lines, or a circular scribble.  The important thing is that they are attempting to stay inside the scoop and they are reversing the direction of their stroke.


For children that are beginning to trace letters:

  1. Write the letter “V” in gray, about 3-4 inches tall.  Why gray?  So that your child can use a bolder color to trace over your lines.
  2. Have them trace your letter in a brighter color, then use your gray crayon to make a line across the “V” from left-to-right (for righties.  lefties will be more comfortable tracing right-to-left).
  3. Let them trace that line as well.
  4. Draw an arch, starting at the beginning of your “V”, curving upward and ending at the end of the “V”.
  5. Let them trace that line.
  6. Demonstrate how to keep your crayon tip barely moving as you “wiggle” to create a tiny sprinkle.  Ask your child to copy you.



For kids that are writing their own letters with demonstration:

  1. Write the letter “V”on your paper, placed directly above theirs.  Ask them to copy you.
  2. Make a line across the “V” from left-to-right( for righties; lefties cross from right-to-left).  Ask them to copy you.
  3.  Make an arch to form the scoop, starting from the beginning of the “V”, curving upward and ending at the end of the “V”.  Ask them to copy you.
  4. Demonstrate how to wiggle your crayon tip slightly to create sprinkles, and even add little lines for drips of ice cream falling off the scoop.


BONUS ROUNDS:  Use sturdy paper and have your child cut out his ice cream scoops.  Have him ask everyone what kind of ice cream flavor and how many scoops they would like him to make for them.  Grab the toy cash register, and use the cones to play ” ice cream shop”.