Tag Archives: summer handwriting fun

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.

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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.

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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”. 

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Melissa And Doug Tape Activity Book Is Reusable Fun

 

I am so excited when I find a truly fun toy that builds the visual and fine motor skills that my preschool and early elementary clients need.  I am giving this book to 2 of my best friend’s grandchildren (ages 8 and 10) today.  She and her husband have them for the holiday week, and if their outdoor plans get rained out, she will be thanking me long after they have gone home. They will be entertained for hours.

This is a book that is intended for kids over 3, but until about 6, some adult assistance is probably a good idea and under 5 is necessary to prevent problems.   No child will have any idea that they are building bilateral control skills, developing coordination for cutting and handwriting, and gaining spatial-perceptual skills for reading and writing.  To them, it is all just creative fun!

The book is ring-bound and the pages are laminated.  This creates a sturdy book that resists tears and arguments.  It also means that the tape sticks easily and removes almost as quickly.  One of my clients told me last week “I just love to take the tape off!”  Narrow paper tape is a little tricky to tear with your fingers, so kids under 6 or so will need some help, and kids 6 and up will need a lesson in how to tear tape.  I measure and tear the tape for the under 5’s, and ask the 5’s to use safe scissors to cut the tape as I hold it.  Take your tape pieces and stick them to the white spaces in the picture to complete the design.  I love the idea that kids can go “logical”, for example, and put red tape on the red barn, or choose to use all the colors randomly and make a kaleidoscope barn!  I also recommend placing more tape to create silly designs.  Red tape flames coming out of the helicopter, the big spider with home-made baby tape spiders, etc.

Placing the tape correctly requires the use of both hands. Kids need to be able to grade their pressure and coordinate finger movements to release tape onto the picture accurately.  You can (and I recommend) talking with preschoolers about the line directions as “horizontal”, “diagonal”, and so on.  Knowing the words that teachers use for handwriting instruction makes learning easier.  Knowing the proper words that adults use is empowering.

Measuring whether the tape is the correct length, and if not, deciding what to do about that is a wonderful way to build pre-math and math skills.  Bring a ruler and this book with you to a family restaurant, and don’t tell kids that they are working on math skills.  I don’t know if the Montessori teachers do measuring activities, but it sure would fit into their philosophy.

For the little guys, there can never be too much tape.  Sadly, M. and D. feel differently, and only include 4 rolls of 1/4 inch tape. They don’t sell the tape separately. I guess you could buy paper tape and cut it to the correct width, but that is a pain.  I nosed around Amazon and did not see clear choices for narrow paper tape.  The books are affordable enough that you could just pick up another one, and maybe get one for each child in the house.  Perhaps they could trade tape colors so that the kid who loves red gets 2 rolls and trades off the green and yellow.

Now you can see why I am so excited about this activity book.  So much fun and creativity for a wide range of ages, and no child even suspects that they are gaining valuable skills this summer!