When you think of pre-writing skills, it’s not just about these skills helping your little one write better, but it also plays a fundamental role in improving and developing fine motor skills before they begin to write.
Pre-writing skills for 2, 3 and 4-year-olds will help them build finger dexterity, help with hand-eye coordination, give strength to the grip and even in wrist movement. This will then, in turn, help them hold a pencil or other writing tools, and be able to express themselves.
In easier terms, pre-writing skills refer to the line and stroke patterns little ones need to learn and pick up before they learn how to get to the next big milestone – writing.
What Are Pre-Writing Skills?
Pre-writing skills involve basically building skills that can help preschoolers learn to write when they are at the right milestone and developmentally ready.
Take a look at these skills that your little one needs to understand before the process of formal writing –
- Core control and a good posture
- Well-developed gross motor control
- Good pincer grasp
- Well-developed fine motor skills
- Being able to form basic patterns
Benefits Of Pre-Writing Skills
While reading is a skill that is generally pushed a lot, writing should not be ignored. Pre-writing is what will help children develop a lot of their skills.
Pre-writing skills are important for children as these skills help them to hold and move a pencil easily, and write legibly. Just like a warm up before rigorous exercise. If your child skips this step, there’s a lot they will have to do and the development might get slower.
Let us now look at the importance of pre-writing skills –
- Fine motor skills
- Pencil grip
- Hand and finger strength
- Bilateral coordination
- Good posture
- Helps with building attention span
- Cognitive focus
- School readiness
Ways To Develop Pre-Writing Skills In Preschoolers
Make your child work on their line and strokes based on their age and keep in mind how it can help build and improve their fine motor skills. Here are some milestones to look out for in different age groups.
- Copy a vertical line
- Scribble in a vertical or horizontal pattern
- Create a horizontal line
- Create a vertical line
- Try drawing a circle
- Mastering drawing horizontal and vertical lines
- Work on different shapes – circles and squares
- Try to copy different shapes like triangles
- Try holding a pencil in that grasp
- Improve drawing different shapes
- Play with different types of lines and curves
When Does One Start Formal Writing?
Once your little one has understood different patterns and shapes, and has improved gross and fine motor skills, your child is now ready to start forming letters.
- When you start introducing letters, make sure you introduce them on a big board or paper.
- Once there has been enough practice with the formation, your little one can now move on to a smaller size paper with lines.
- Once they have understood how to write individual letters, the next step is to put the letters together and form words.
10 Simple Pre-Writing Activities That Your Preschooler Will Love
Let us take a look at some activities to develop pre-writing skills in young ones. Here’s how you can teach pre-writing skills –
1. Dropping The Coin
Let your little one pick up a coin or a ball and drop it into either a piggy bank or a toy that lets them play drop with shapes. This will help them move their fingers better, and will also improve wrist movement and arm movement.
2. Smiley Ball
Squeezing and playing with a smiley ball will also help your little one grasp things better and with the action of squeezing, it will improve their motor skills. All you need to do is get a foam ball and start squeezing. To guide your child through the squeezing activity, you can ask your child to keep squeezing till you count till three, and then let go. You can also ask them to keep squeezing the ball while reciting the alphabet and let go when they reach the initial of their name, or even the names of the other family members. Another fun activity would be to squeeze the ball and run to the other end of the room, and then let go.
3. Threading & Lacing
Now, this task is one that can lead to the development of fine motor skills and building concentration in little ones. Threading and lacing are perfect activities for developing concentration in kids as well as practising controlled movements. Your child has to coordinate their eyes and fingers carefully in order to do this task. There are a couple of DIYs you can try at home. Take a thick sheet of paper or cardboard and punch a few holes in it. Take a shoelace and ask your child to run the lace through the holes. Let them start with just pushing it in and pulling it out. Later, you can guide them to make patterns.
4. Going Green
Children love gardening. Did you know that some tasks like watering a plant can help your child’s finger dexterity? Ask your child to use a spray bottle to water some house plants and see how they are able to develop their fine motor skills, pincer grasp, and so much more! The simple finger movements are a great exercise for children.
Let your child trace alphabets on a sheet of paper so that it gets easy for them to understand the way they are written. Use a different colour for different alphabets to make it easier.
6. Doodle Time
Give your little one a pencil or crayon and a piece of paper and let them get used to gripping them in their hands, and then, when they scribble or doodle, it just helps them hone these skills and have a good time.
Playing with playdough makes kids improve their motor skills and concentration, especially when they are twisting them into shapes of alphabets. Start by asking them to pull some playdough from your hands by pinching small pieces off the entire dough. Move on to pressing it between the palms to flatten them. Then, guide them to roll it between their palms and fingers to make thin strings. Then, they can form interesting shapes with these strings.
8. Cutting Activities
Using a child-proof scissor to cut paper into different shapes is a great way to improve their gross and fine motor skills! The opposable movement of the thumb and finger are a good exercise and practice for holding a pen and learning to write.
9. Painting With Toys
For kids, painting with their toys give them a whole new experience as they get to see different patterns with every toy – eg. cars. This improves their motor and concentration skills.
10. Ice Painting
Now, this is a super fun activity! Just mix water with different paints, put them in an ice cube tray and put little sticks on them so that your kids can hold them. Once frozen, they can play around and draw shapes and patterns with these sticks on paper! Colourful strokes and the watercolour effect will be very exciting for children and they will enjoy this pre-writing exercise.