As my preschoolers have learned their letters were are now working on helping them learn to write them. We are no where near the “writing our own names” stage, but here are some ways that we are learning to trace letters and shapes. Hopefully, developing the fine motor skills they will use in penmanship for the future. Here are three of our favorite – make-it-yourself – resources. I bet these can be adapted for both older and younger learners.
First we have sticky sticks. We made these at home one afternoon, they are great for molding and for tracing letters. You can also use them for “dot-to-dot” activities. I drew the letters out first for my daughter, but for a more advanced writer, you can leave the dots and have your child “guess” the letter they are tracing as they use the sticky sticks to go from dot-to-dot and form the letters….
We have also created a mini-whiteboard out of an old CD case. Our kids are still at the early stage of writing, so I need to write the letter first (usually in one color of dry erase marker) and then our kids will trace the letter I wrote in another marker.
If your child is already able to write letters, you can play a guessing game where you write the letter and try to guess what the letter is before you are finished writing it – you can also do the same “game” with words.
This last learning resource is my son’s favorite! He especially loves the way that the gel “squishes”. They are super easy to make with things you should already have at home (ziplock baggie, hair gel & food coloring). Basically, I filled a bag with gel, added the food coloring, used packing tape to seal the top and let the kids have fun!
We traced letters, maps, pictures, and even just “squished” the bag with our hands. Be careful, the bags can burst with enough force.