Pre-Writing Activities for Kids: Pom Pom Task Tray

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Last week I started a new series on Pre-writing Activities for Kids.

For a quick review, here are the pre-writing strokes that children learn in a developmental sequence:

  • Vertical line
  • Horizontal line
  • Circle
  • Cross shape (+)
  • Right/Left Diagonal Line
  • Square
  • X shape
  • Triangle

Today we are moving on to the circle shape with a fun pompom task tray that can be adapted for kids of all ages!

Pom Pom Task Tray - Pre-writing Activities for Kids Series |

Items Needed for Pom Pom Task Tray

This activity is very easy to set up. Simply put the task tray on the floor or small child size table with the jar and mixing bowl on it. Place the pom poms in one of the containers and let your child explore by transferring items back and forth between the two jars. You can provide them with the mixing spoons or small fine motor tongs or chopsticks.

Since my daughter is 17 months, I just gave her a tablespoon size measuring spoon and also let her use her fingers. This is great practice for developing a good pincer grasp.

Pre-writing Activities for Kids - Pom Pom Task Tray |

She spent a good 30 minutes with this activity, putting the pom poms back and forth between the two containers. I would suggest whatever container you use for the 2nd container make sure the opening to it is smaller than the 1st. If you have an older child you can use a container with an even smaller opening, this will give them a challenge in fine motor skills practice and eye-hand coordination.

Also, if you think your little one will put the smaller size pom poms in their mouth, please use larger sized ones. Also do not leave your child unattended during this activity at all.

Pre-writing Activities for Kids - Pom Pom Task Tray |

During this activity, I talked to my daughter about circles, showing her that the pom poms were circles, the rims of the bowls and spoons are circles, even the apples on the task tray. I also used the wording “start at the top, circle around, stop” when tracing the circle shapes with my finger. This is the same wording I use when teaching how to draw or trace a circle for older kids, so it is good repetition.

For an older child who is learning to trace pre-writing lines, you can provide them with some paper and crayons after this activity and have them practice making circle shapes. For children ages 2-3, just having circular motions on paper is age appropriate, ages 3-4 will start to perfect making an actual circle with start and stop points.

Skills used in the Pom Pom Task Tray Pre-writing Activity

  • Eye-Hand Coordination
  • Fine motor skills (hand strength, pincer grasp, proper grasp on writing utensils if you are using the tongs or chopsticks).
  • Pre-writing skills (exposure to various circle shapes in different environments and everyday items)

Here are my other activities in the Pre-Writing Activities for Kids Series

This activity is included in my new book, Basic Shapes for Beginners – A Hands-On Approach to Pre-Writing Strokes for Preschoolers. You'll get 30+ activity ideas for introducing pre-writing lines to your toddler and preschool age child.

Basic Shapes for Beginners

You can also find more ideas with the resources below.


Follow Heather | Growing Hands-On Kids's board Handwriting Skills and Activities on Pinterest.

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

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. What a great article! I wish I had this idea when my kids were younger!

  2. We don’t have kids yet, but I already learned a wonderful idea 🙂
    It’s always good to be prepared

  3. We did this activities with our toddlers using colorful clothes pegs. Thank you for sharing.

  4. priyankagupta says:

    wonderful activities and guidance .
    i want your help if you could provide me a good assessment tool for handwriting in preeschoolers to elementary school children.i am looking for any costeffective e-format assessment to be used by me (Occupational Therapist) with my client in my clinic .

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.

Do not rely on the information on the Website as an alternative to advice from your medical professional or healthcare provider. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment as a result of any information provided on the Website. All medical information on the Website is for informational purposes only.

All activities outlined on the Website are designed for completion with adult supervision. Please use your own judgment with your child and do not provide objects that could pose a choking hazard to young children. Never leave a child unattended during these activities. Please be aware of and follow all age recommendations on all products used in these activities. Growing Hands-On Kids is not liable for any injury when replicating any of the activities found on this blog.

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