Basics of pre-writing activities for kids ages 2-6 and preschoolers.

Preschool Pre-Writing Skills

This pre-writing skills resource is a resource for anyone working with preschoolers. The fact is that in the preschool years, developmentally, preschoolers should not be writing. Rather, pre-writing is the area of focus. A huge topic of discussion for pediatric occupational therapy professionals is the fact that preschool pre-writing skills are developed rather than introducing handwriting at this young age. Developmentally, there is a lot of progression in the preschool years and pre-writing skills are just one of the many areas. Refer to more information on preschool activities for other developmentally appropriate activities.

pre writing skills needed before preschoolers can write with a pencil.

Fun Ways to Work on Pre-Writing Skills

Since the typical age for children working on pre-writing lines is ages 2-5, I like to focus on fine motor skills that promote learning these lines and shapes instead of using paper and pencils/crayons. Your child will need the fine motor strength these activities provide in order to have good pre-writing lines and later good letter formations.

Check out my brand new ebook, The Basics of Pre-Writing Skills for Kids. This ebook takes an in-depth look at the developmental sequence of pre-writing lines and why they are an important part of the foundations for handwriting skills.

Basics of pre-writing skills for kids.

More Handwriting Resources

CONTENT DISCLAIMER: Heather Greutman is a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant.
All information on the Website is for informational purposes only and is not a replacement for medical advice from a physician or your pediatrician. Please consult with a medical professional if you suspect any medical or developmental issues with your child. The information on the Websites does not replace the relationship between therapist and client in a one-on-one treatment session with an individualized treatment plan based on their professional evaluation. The information provided on the Website is provided “as is” without any representations or warranties, express or implied.

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What are the building blocks for emergent pre-writing skills?

“You can encourage a child by pointing to words or letters when reading and talking about the sounds of letters in their names. For example, if you’re out shopping and your child’s name is Edward you see a sign with the letter E you can point to it and say, ‘Can you see an E in that sign? I can see an E. It looks like the letter E in your name.’”

Hailey also strongly encourages building up a child’s hand strength with clay. “A great way to build strength in the hands is through clay. Clay has more resistance than putty. We do a lot of work with clay here at Petit ELJ Springfield, so hands become much stronger.”

Children play with clay to build-up hand strength an essential building block for emergent pre-writing skills.

Are there pre-writing milestones like mark making?

While you can encourage children as young as babies to develop an interest in writing, Hailey doesn’t feel pre-writing milestones fit into specific age groups. “Every child develops differently.”

“You can introduce toddlers to painting as a way of being able to express their feelings and thoughts on paper. You can let children have the freedom to draw what they want rather than guiding them to draw a specific way.”

“For preschoolers, you can start to encourage them to introduce letter and number knowledge into their drawings and other interests. It’s important not to force it, as you don’t want to discourage learning but to see whether they want to do it.”

Mark making for children includes the use of lines, textures, patterns and shapes. You don’t always need paper to encourage mark making as you can also do it in the sand, snow or mud. By talking about the shapes and the size of shapes that children draw, it encourages language development.

Child engages in mark making.


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