Pre-writing Skills for Kids: Circle Tray & Sensory Bin

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Did you know that pre-writing skills developmentally start a lot sooner than you may think? Today I am going to share a couple of hands-on pre-writing skills for kids using a circle shape tray and a sensory bin. The tray idea is here on my site and the circle toddler sensory bin is a guest over at Lemon Lime Adventures today.

A super easy circle tray pre-writing activity for kids.

Developmentally, kids start to form a correct circle shape by the time they are three. However from ages 2 and on they are able to make circular motions with any type of writing utensil or their fingers. My daughter has been showing increase interest in shapes, especially the circle shape. She has begun to make circular motions using a crayon or small pencil at 26 months old.

So I am taking her interest and turning it into a couple of fun hands-on activities with circles.

Circle Theme Tray for Pre-Writing Skills

For this tray you will need:

Set all the items up on the tray as shown above. I set this out on our Montessori shelves and gave a basic demonstration for my daughter. After that I just let her explore it and play with it as she wanted to.

A hands-on pre-writing skills activity for toddlers.

Pre-Writing Skills Used for this Activity

  • Exposure to shapes for future pre-writing work
  • Color recognition
  • Patterns (to include patterns put one pom-pom of each color in the first space and then allow your child to fill in the rest)
  • Beginning one-to-one correspondence skills
  • Fine motor strengthening for proper pencil grasp development.

Circle Toddler Sensory Bin

Be sure to head over to Lemon Lime Adventures today to see the Circle Toddler Sensory Bin activity I shared over there.


This activity is part of my ebook, Basic Shapes for Beginners which is a hands-on approach to teaching pre-writing strokes and lines to preschoolers. It is designed for ages 2-5. However, if you have a child who is struggling with letter formations or handwriting skills, I would highly suggest going back to the basics of pre-writing and trying out my 30+ activities in the ebook.

Basic Shapes for Beginners

For more pre-writing activity ideas, check out my Handwriting Pinterest board.

Follow Heather G. | Golden Reflections Blog's board Handwriting Skills & Activities on Pinterest.

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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One Comment

  1. This is a fabulous and fun way to help little ones develop their fine motor skills. Thanks for the post and for sharing this idea!

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