Pre-writing Activities for Kids: Straight Lines Sensory Bin

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Over the next 6 weeks, we are going to be taking a look at some pre-writing activities for kids. Pre-writing activities for kids are a great way for them to be introduced into the world of writing at a young age with something that is age appropriate and also not “school” work.

Pre-writing Activities for Kids Series - Straight Lines Sensory Bin | Golden Reflections Blog

Preschoolers were designed to explore the world around them through movement. I love giving my daughter sensory items to explore with. It is amazing how concentrated she becomes in that activity, often times playing with it independently for up to half an hour at a time.

This straight lines sensory bin was a huge hit with her.

Writing skills begin at an even earlier age than when your child first picks up a crayon. Pencil grasp development starts at just a few months old when your child begins to grasp for objects! Even before learning the alphabet, your child is building the foundations for writing and printing with good letter formations etc.

It all starts with those pre-writing activities, or pre-writing lines/strokes. Children learn these strokes in a developmental, age-appropriate sequence. It goes something like this:

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

All of these shapes and lines are the building blocks for forming letters! I first realized that my daughter was interested in shapes when we got this book: PLAY-DOH: Making Shapes with Monkey .

Within a few times of reading this book, she was pointing to the circle shapes consistently when I would ask her to show me a circle. I immediately began finding circle shapes and other things from around the house to show her. I even showed her how to make circular motions on paper, which isn't age-appropriate for her yet, but I figured exposure could not hurt at this point.

So that is how this series was born. Over the next 6 weeks, we will be taking a look at some of the pre-writing lines I mentioned above and I will be sharing a hands-on activity you can set up for your kids in order for them to explore this line or shape. This is all leading up to my new book Basic Shapes for Beginners – A Hands-On Approach to Pre-writing Strokes for Preschoolers.

Basic Shapes for Beginners

And since straight lines or vertical/horizontal lines are first in the developmental sequence, we are starting there.

Pre-writing Lines Sensory Bin - Prewriting Activities for Children Series | Golden Reflections Blog

Items Needed for Straight Lines Sensory Bin

Pre-writing Activities for Kids - Straight Lines Sensory Bin | Golden Reflections Blog

I put a large beach towel on the floor and then just let E explore and play. She sat and played with this for at least half an hour! Of course, most of the contents ended up on the beach towel or the floor, but it was easy to pick up when she was done!

As she was playing I would talk to her about straight lines, showing her big ones, little ones, and then also point out colors. For older kids, you can also talk about how our letters always start from the top and what letters use lines. When they are done playing you could have them practice writing some letters with straight lines if that is age appropriate for them (ages 5+).

Pre-writing Activities for Kids - Straight Lines Sensory Bin | Golden Reflections Blog

This is a great way to expose your child to pre-writing in a fun and different way! It's great for fine motor too if you include tongs or tweezers for them to pick up items with.

For more ideas like this one, check out the resources below.

Follow Heather | Growing Hands-On Kids's board Sensory Play Ideas on Pinterest.
You May Also Like: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. Awesome! I like your teaching ideas. Will try some of them with my preschoolers.
    Thanks for sharing.

  2. my daugther confused which is right and left..can i ask some tricks to easily teach her please..thanks in advance

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