Pre-Writing Activities for Hands-On Learning

Writing is a fundamental skill to learning. Younger preschoolers love to scribble and pretend to write. Pre-writing activities give students the skills and muscle tone they need to write. Writing doesn’t come until later. However, laying the foundation will make learning to write easier. Learning for preschoolers is all about play. Here are five, fun pre-writing activities to start with your student, today.

Playdough Alphabet Mats


Playdough is fun and easy to use. Kids love to squish and mold it. Just playing with playdough helps strengthen little hands. It develops fine motor skills and increases muscle tone. Both are very important for writing. Rolling out the playdough into long ropes helps develop pre-writing skills. Then you can make other writing shapes. Make circles, and x’s out of playdough. Roll out a horizontal rope and a vertical rope. Using your finger, trace over the shapes. Use a paintbrush or stick to make decorations on each shape. You can use clean stamps to practice going in a line. Just stamp one after another across a flattened piece of playdough.

Dip & Dot Alphabet Painting Mats


Who doesn’t love to paint? It’s fun, colorful, and messy. Toddlers love messes. Moms, not so much. Painting is a wonderful pre-writing activity. Making long strokes with a paintbrush develops hand-eye coordination. If you are looking to avoid the mess, try painting with water. You can paint with water on a driveway, brick, or construction paper. The water will change the surface color, however, it is mess-free. Make sure to teach your child how to hold the paintbrush properly. This will help him to learn how to hold a pencil. Paint straight lines, squiggly lines, and loops or circles. Older siblings can join in by practicing letters, spelling words, or shapes.

Sand or Salt Tray

Long before a child can hold a pen, he can use his finger. Drawing with fingers build coordination, fine motor skills, and confidence. Start with a tray covered with sand and salt. Make the sand deep enough to move with your finger. Have the child experiment with moving the sand with just one finger at a time. Practice lines, squiggles, and circles. Once the child is ready, give him a card with a shape, letter, or number to copy into the sand.

Pom-Pom Alphabet Activity Mats


A classic Montessori task, transferring is actually an important pre-writing activity. Using tongs or tweezers children transfer objects from one bowl to another. This teaches how to follow a line. It also develops fine motor skills and coordination. Pom poms, beans, marbles, seeds, or acorns are perfect for transferring practice. Really anything can be used. Raid your pantry and get transferring.

Free Alphabet Mat Printables


Stickers, they are one of the great joys of childhood. Stickers actually teach pre-writing skills. Moving stickers from the sheet to your page, is an important skill to develop. Once children master putting stickers onto paper, their clothes, or themselves, you can do more complicated activities. Draw a horizontal line and have the child place stickers along the line. You can later progress to shapes and letters. Making lines out of stickers is fun and forgiving. So the child practices tracing the line without getting frustrated.

Try more pre-writing activities using our Fine Motor Task Card Activity Bundle! This helpful bundle includes a variety of different task cards you can use to develop small motor muscles without writing:

  • Fine Motor Task Cards: Symmetry Task Card Activity Pack
  • Fine Motor Task Cards: Alphabet Geo Board Task Cards Activity Pack
  • Fine Motor Task Cards: ABC Brick Activity Pack
  • Fine Motor Task Cards: ABC Play Dough Activity Pack
  • Fine Motor Task Cards: ASL Activity Pack

Click Here for Sample Pages

Comment (1)

  • Meera Roopnarine Reply

    Love the ideas

    August 9, 2019 at 5:11 pm

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