Fun Pre Writing Activities – Early Literacy & Fine Motor Skills Development

Fun Pre Writing Activities Over the past few weeks we have been having quite a bit of fun developing our fine motor skills, in particular we have been working of prewriting activities.  Doodles is starting school in September and is very eager to do homework at the moment (let’s hope he maintains that enthusiasm in the years to come!!!).

Flour Writing Tray

Flour Writing Tray

Activity 1 – Writing Trays Using a Variety of Materials:

  1. Sand
  2. Compost/Peat Moss
  3. Flour
  4. Rice
  5. Paint
  6. Linseed

What do you need:

  1. Trays, baking sheets
  2. Flour
  3. Rice
  4. Sand
  5. Compost/peat moss
  6. Coloured paper/card
  7. Paint
  8. Paint brushes
  9. Lolly pop sticks
  10. Pencils
Linseed, Rice, Compost/Peat Moss, Paint Writing Trays

Linseed, Rice, Compost/Peat Moss, Paint Writing Trays

Both Doodles and Oodles love this activity and it is so easy to set up.  Simply add some of the above ingredients to a tray or baking sheet and encourage your child to write/draw in the sand/flour/paint etc.  We usually begin by using our fingers to write, then a lollypop stick, then a paint brush and then a tri-sided pencil.  Typically I draw or write patterns and letter on a sheet of paper for the children to copy and sometimes I use printed flashcards I have made of our names, common sight words etc.   Activity 2 – Gel Sensory Bag What do you need?

  1. Ziplock bag
  2. Washing up liquid
  3. Glitter
  4. Tape
  5. Lollypop sticks
  6. Pencils
Squidgy/Sensory Bag, Rice Writing Tray

Squidgy/Sensory Bag, Rice Writing Tray

I love these sensory bags.  They are so easy to make.  Pour lots of washing up liquid into the bag, sprinkle in some glitter, close the bag and seal with tape.  You can also use paint instead of washing up liquid.  I have 2 of these taped to our kitchen door/window for Oodles to draw on using her fingers.  She loves to push the paint/gel around the bag.  Doodles uses a bigger bag, flat on the table.  He usually plays with it first, pushing all the liquid to one side or pushing it with a lolly stick.  Then he uses his finger or pencil to write in it, practicing his letters and prewriting patterns. Activity 3 – Playdough and Straws What do you need?

  1. Playdough (find our homemade recipe here)
  2. Coloured straws cut into small pieces
  3. Rolling pin
Play Dough Letter Fun

Play Dough Letter Fun

This is a version of a great activity I spotted on Kids Activities Blog, a really fab site for lots of kid friendly activities. Firstly, encourage the child to roll out a flat piece if playdough.  Using a pencil, draw a letter into the playdough, if the child is able, encourage them to do it for themselves.  The child then traces the letter by placing the straws into the imprint of the letter. Activity 4 – Peg Boards What do you need?

  1. Pegs
  2. Peg boards
Peg Boards

Peg Boards

Peg boards are great for developing fine motor skills.  Both D and O love using our peg boards and I am forever picking up pegs around the house.  Here you can see Doodles making the letter D using the pegs. Activity 5 – Prewriting Pattern Worksheets. What do you need?

  1. Pencils, markers
  2. Pre writing worksheets – we are using worksheets from
Pre Writing Patterns Worksheets

Pre Writing Patterns Worksheets

Doodle loves to do his “homework”, he feels all grown up when he gets to do worksheets.  I’m not a major fan of the overuse of worksheets but they do have a place in early learning.  D usually practices using the trays first before I give him a sheet to do so that he has had the hands on and sensory experience of writing before the more structured activity of using pen and paper.  Pre writing patterns are the basic shapes, curves, zigzags, waves that are needed to form all letters and to write with fluency. Activity 6 – Magnetic Letters and Baking Tray What do you need?

  1. Large baking/cookie tray
  2. Magnetic letters
  3. Laminated word grids
Magnetic letters and Baking Tray

Magnetic letters and Baking Tray

I have been using this activity to help D get to know his name, phone number and other commonly used words.  It is a great way of teaching letter recognition and word shapes.  I create my own grids and laminate them so that they can be used over and over again.  D most look for the correct magnetic letters and place them in the correct place on the grid on the tray.  For the phone number it is exactly the same, just using number!!!   I hope you find some of these activities useful.  I will be adding to the list in the coming weeks!  Most importantly make this early literacy/prewriting experience as fun and as positive as possible!

Ciara x





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