From playdoh to lacing: 12 activities to foster pre-writing skills in toddlers
Pre-writing activities not only help build the child's fine motor skills but also help them to process sensory information. Check out some fun and creative activities to help children learn about various grips for other tasks and understand directions, forms, letters, number systems, and more.
Prewriting is an essential skill that child needs to acquire before they begin to write. The stronger your child's pre-writing skills are, the better and longer your child can write. Prewriting skills focus on developing and strengthening fine motor muscles of the hands and fingers, and it also helps to improve concentration and eye-hand coordination. These skills will then determine your child's capacity to hold a crayon, a pencil, or a brush and their capability to scribble, draw, write, colour, paint, and so on.
"For a child to develop their pre-writing skills, they need to perform and indulge in specific activities. The pre-writing activities not only help build child's fine motor skills but also help them to process sensory information, which is a part of their writing process. These activities help children learn about various grips for other tasks and understand directions, forms, letters, number systems, and more. Developing skills in preschool is very crucial. The more children use prewriting activities, the more their skills will develop rapidly," says, Dr. Anita Madan, Head Curriculum Development, EuroKids. (Also read: How to develop leadership skills in children; Expert offers tips )
She further shared with HT Lifestyle, some of the finest pre-writing activities for preschool kids to foster creativity and learning in them.
1. Playdoh / Clay
Play-Doh or clay can be used in various ways. The playdoh can be made into snakes and even rolled onto balls of different sizes. Flatten a piece of playdoh and cut shapes using cookie cutters or the cutters provided. Draw some pointy mountains or jagged lines on a sheet of paper, laminate it, or put it between transparent sheets or folders and ask your child to make snakes and stick over the lines. Encourage them to start from the left and move towards the right or from up to down. Similarly, give them child letters, numbers, and straightforward shapes that can border with clay snakes.
Paints and sheets of paper will bring those hours of fun. Pour out a few different colours on some plates, and please have your child dip their fingers in it and then draw on the paper with their fingers. Give the children pieces of sponge and a vast shape, let them dab the sponge in the paints and then fill in the shape by wiping it with the sponge. The same activity can be done using big balls of scrunched-up paper.
This activity can also be performed through different materials around the house like forks, a potato masher, the end slice of an onion, the tops of a lady's finger, a hair comb, and cotton earbuds. Car enthusiasts can dip the wheels of the cars in the paint and then roll it on the paper to make a design.
Children love playing and experimenting with colours, so give them thick crayons and sheets of paper to scribble or draw randomly. Through this activity, they can later be taught to scratch, colour within the lines of a given picture, or even draw straight, slanting lines, mountains, and bumps.
Give your child big-sized beads and some thick string or a long shoelace with a knot tied at one end, and teach them to thread the beads. This activity can also be done with hollow pasta like macaroni or penne.
Take a thick cardboard, draw a simple shape like a circle or a heart, and cut it out. Next, punch holes around 1 inch inside the border and 1 inch apart. Tie a thick string or a shoelace around one hole and teach your child to lace through the holes. They can go up and down or inside out around the border. You can also draw pictures inside the cardboard and punch holes accordingly, like a ladder, or draw different lines and let your child lace the holes within them.
6. Shaving cream tray (H3)
You need a tray and shaving cream or foam for this Prewriting activity. Make a thick layer of shaving foam on the tray and let your child have fun squiggling lines or different designs using their fingers. Do keep a wiping cloth handy to use when needed.
7. Sand tray
The same activity can be done using a layer of sand to cover the base of the tray. Your child can now make designs with their fingers, forks, the back of a pencil or ice cream sticks, and so on.
8. Squidgy bag
Mix some all-purpose white flour (Maida) with water for a thick batter. Pour this batter into 2 or 3 resealable bags and add different food colours. Mix well till the colour is uniformly distributed. Your child can now use it to make shapes, lines, letters, and numbers using their fingers or cotton buds.
Draw different lines or simple outlines of a shape on paper and give your child a glue stick and large assorted buttons. Let them stick it on the lines or the shape borders.
In this activity, take a sheet of paper and draw different types of lines or even simple large shapes. Give your child some colourful circle or square stickers and let them stick them on the lines
11. Tongs and tweezers
Give your little one small tongs or large tweezers and let them transfer things from one bowl to another. Paper balls, kidney beans, chickpeas, French beans, pompoms, uncooked pasta, and even different shapes of erasers can be used for this activity.
This activity can be done using different-sized spoons and different-sized materials. Let your child scoop from one bowl and put it into another. Use materials like sand, rice, small plastic balls or beads, pompoms, chickpeas, and beans.
Your little one can prepare for school by consistently engaging in these prewriting activities. Before starting school, their fine motor skills and directional skills can be fairly developed with the help of these extremely interesting and engaging activities.