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Fall/Autumn is a great time to work on pre-writing lines, strokes, and shapes in a novel way that kids will enjoy and have fun with. Here are some of my favorite fall pre-writing activities for kids of all ages.
Autumn Pre-Writing Activity Ideas for Kids
Any of these activities can be adapted to add practicing letters, numbers, or first and last names.
1 || Use leaves to form pre-writing lines
Colleen at The OT Toolbox has a great post using leaves to make pre-writing lines with samples and directions here.
2 || Search for acorns and use them to form or trace pre-writing lines
3 || Find sticks to make pre-writing lines in the dirt OR make the lines and shapes out of sticks
4 || Make pumpkin or apple play dough to form pre-writing lines or shapes
You can find some recipes for those here:
5 || Use orange, yellow, or red colored salt trays to trace pre-writing lines
You can find directions on how to dye salt with these directions from Mother Could. Once it has dried, dump it into a thin tray or cookie sheet and have your child copy pre-writing lines and shapes with their finger or a cotton swab.
6 || Trace or make leaf rubbings
While this activity does not make the actual lines or shapes, it is a good activity to build fine motor skills for pre-writing lines.
7 || Use a fall/autumn-themed pre-writing practice sheets to practice pre-writing lines
I just happen to have a pumpkin-themed pre-writing and scissor practice activity packet that you can grab here. 😉
8 || Make pumpkin puffy paint to make pre-writing lines
You can find the recipe and directions for pumpkin puffy paint in this post by The Chaos And The Clutter.
9 || Orange, yellow, or red-colored squishy bags to trace pre-writing lines and shapes
Use resealable bags, flour, water, and food coloring to make these colorful squishy bags. You can have children copy the pre-writing line by using their fingers to make the lines and shapes on top of the bag. For added pincer grasp practice, have them use a cotton swab to make the lines and shapes.
10 || Use orange, red, or yellow colored shaving cream to copy pre-writing lines and shape
All you need is shaving cream and some food coloring. Have your child wear disposable gloves if you don't want their finger to turn colors. 🙂
11 || Use fall-shaped beads to trace pre-writing lines and shapes
Here are some ideas of the types of beads to use. Do not use these with children under 3 who may still put things in their mouths.
12 || Use orange, red, or yellow tape to make pre-writing lines on a window or mirror
Here is how Dyan from And Next Comes L did tape letters like this. You can simply adapt it to autumn colors for the tape and do pre-writing lines instead of letters.
What are Pre-Writing Lines?
Pre-writing lines and shapes are strokes that children learn before learning how to write their names or words. They develop in a sequence starting at around 2 years old to 5-6 years old. You can read more about pre-writing line development here.
- Vertical Line – (Age 2 imitates, age 3 copies/masters)
- Horizontal Line – (Age 2 1/2 imitates, age 3 copies/masters)
- Circle Shape – (Age 2 1/2 imitates, 3 copies/masters)
- Cross Shape (+) – (Age 3 1/2 imitates, age 4 copies)
- Square Shape – (Age 4)
- Right/Left Diagonal Line – (Age 4 1/2)
- X Shape – (Age 5)
- Triangle (Age 5)
Before expecting children to write, it's important to ensure they have mastered pre-writing lines and shapes. This will help ensure a smooth transition to writing and also help build fine motor and visual motor skills in order to write.
I also have a pre-writing line development checklist that you can grab here.
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