Including Handwriting Skills in Your Tot-School/Preschool

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I love talking about handwriting skills! Probably because of my background as an Occupational Therapy Assistant, but handwriting activities and ideas get my creative juices flowing! Today we are talking about how to include handwriting skills in your toddler or preschoolers' day.

In case you have missed the other posts in this 5 Days of Tot-School & Preschool Series, here they are:

Not sure how to include handwriting skills with your toddler or preschooler? Get hands-on ideas that are fun! |

How To Begin with Handwriting Skills

Handwriting skills and fine motor skills are very similar. You need good fine motor skills in order to have good handwriting! So giving your child lots of activities that require the use of their fingers and hands is important.

Some great activities for this are anything that requires them to use tongs, tweezers, wooden clothespins, etc.  This gives them a chance to practice proper hand grasp with a fun and hands-on activity.

Also, any type of activity that requires a pincer grasp (using the index and thumb finger) to grab objects is a great skill.

Here is one that I have had my daughter do and it is a simple, up-cycle activity: 2 easy pincer grasp activities for toddlers.

Toddlers start to master pre-writing lines or strokes at 2 years old. Pre-writing lines are the precursor to letter formations later on in handwriting! They follow an age-appropriate sequence:

  • Vertical Lines– (Age 2 imitates, age 3 copies/masters)
  • Horizontal Lines – (Age 2 imitates, age 3 copies/masters)
  • Circle shape – (Age 2, age 3 copies/masters)
  • Cross shape (+) – (Age 3 imitates, age 4 copies)
  • Right/Left Diagonal Line – (Age 4)
  • Square shape– (Age 4)
  • X shape – (Age 4)
  • Triangle shape (Age 5)

There are lots of ways you can practice these pre-writing lines that are fun and hands-on activities, NOT sitting down at a table with pencil and paper.

I have a post here on 6 Pre-writing activities for preschoolers that can get you started.

If you would like to get started with some fun pre-writing line activities, my ebook, Basic Shapes for Beginners will get you going. In the ebook, I give you 6 weeks' worth of activities, one for each day of the week. It also has a resource list, a shopping list divided by the weeks, and all the printables you need to complete all the activities.

Basic Shapes for Beginners

And for your older preschoolers who are starting to learn that pre-writing lines make letters, there are some really fun ways you can do this without having to “write”.

Here are 12 fun ways, using a lot of sensory-type activities.

For this age, I really don't like to do a lot of formal sitting down and working on “handwriting”. There are ways to include it that are fun but also help them to practice the skills they need for a successful handwriting experience.

For more ideas, you can also read my Teaching Handwriting in Your Homeschool – Preschool Edition.

You can also check out my Pinterest board for handwriting skills and activities.

Heather Greutman, COTA

Heather Greutman is a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant with experience in school-based OT services for preschool through high school. She uses her background to share child development tips, tools, and strategies for parents, educators, and therapists. She is the author of many ebooks including The Basics of Fine Motor Skills, and Basics of Pre-Writing Skills, and co-author of Sensory Processing Explained: A Handbook for Parents and Educators.

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  1. Another great post! This post gave me some ideas for my 1.5 year old! 🙂

CONTENT DISCLAIMER: Heather Greutman is a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant.
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