During preschool years, children’s writing is messy and often illegible. Your goal, as a parent, is to help your preschooler understand the process of writing and that it is a way we communicate with others through words and symbols. Here are some suggested activities for you to use at home to encourage your preschooler to write.
- Have available pencils, washable markers, chalk, crayons, finger paint, paper (without lines) and a work space. Put these in a box that is easily accessible to your child.
- Slip a piece of plain paper into a plastic sheet protector and have your child practice writing the letters with an erasable marker.
- Encourage your child to express his thoughts, feelings, and ideas through drawings, such as a family pet, a story he has just heard, or a holiday or special event. If your child cannot write the letters, print a word or label the picture for him.
- Provide clay or Play-Doh or clay for your child to mold the letters.
- Use lined paper with your older preschooler once he has developed muscle tone and is able to print the letters. Now he can practice learning to print his first name on lined paper. Keep in mind this will take time and patience. Suggestion: Use a yellow marker to print your child’s name and have him trace over the letters with your guidance.
- Label articles around the house, especially the child’s belongings and toys. Your child will begin to attempt writing the name of these articles in his stories and drawings.
- Slip a piece of lined paper into a plastic sheet protector and have your child practice writing the letters, his name, and the names of objects with an erasable marker.
- Cut out and label the pictures of toys, food, and other familiar items from newspapers, magazines, and catalogs, and have your child practice writing the names of the pictures as he looks at them. Be sure to select uncomplicated and short words such as milk, eggs, ball, game, car, doll, book, clothes, hat, coat, pants, etc.