Fun, Creative Pre-Writing ActivitiesFor Preschool Children

The pre-writing activities for preschool children below are a great way to build essential, foundational fine motor skills.

These skills will include hand strength, directional movement patterns, and effective hand position, which will then facilitate making lines, letters, and shapes. 

All development comes in predictable stages. Before a child can write, he must have the prerequisite fine motor skills necessary to use his wrist and hands properly and effectively. Have fun trying all of these great ideas below so that your child is ready to write!

Ideas For Fine Motor Skill Development

  • When playing music, give the children some cloths or juggle scarves or ribbon sticks to hold/use. Show them how to go up, down, and across with the material.


  • When coloring with crayons, try having the children color while lying on their bellies, or have them stand while coloring a piece of paper taped on the wall, a wall easel, or a floor easel . Both positions help promote grasp and a proper position of the wrist. The first position, on their bellies, also helps strengthen their arms.


  • When coloring, try giving the children finger crayons, broken or short pieces of crayons. This will help promote a proper grasp, so they can not "fist" (i.e., wrapping the whole hand around the crayon and using the pinky side of the hand to color) the crayons easily.


  • When coloring, encourage scribbling first, imitation of vertical strokes second, horizontal strokes next, then circular motions, and finally, copying a circle. This is the proper developmental sequence of pre-writing skills. Remember, young children should not be coloring in the lines yet, and should not be given too many pictures to color. This is a time to learn and explore with crayons, not be confined to a specific shape.


  • Pre-writing activities for preschool children should include using different things, such as "Funny Foam" or fingerpaints, instead of crayons when working on imitating strokes. Use sponges, various sized paintbrushes, or even "Q-tips". You can also try food finger painting with items such as pudding, applesauce, whipped cream, etc. This can make an activity lots of fun and no one has to worry about children mouthing the paint. Food or "Funny Foam" finger painting is also a great activity for children with tactile defensiveness.


  • Partially fill large Zip-Lock baggies with colored hair gel or colored shampoo. Seal the bags and show the children how to make lines with their fingers. Have them imitate your strokes, as mentioned above. As they draw with their fingers, the material in the baggies will be displaced so they can see their strokes. You could also do this on plates or trays using dry ingredients such as Kool-Aid powder (smells great!), dry pudding mix, or sand. Have them draw in these things...also great for kids with tactile defensiveness!


  • Give the children paint brushes and have them paint using water on the pavement, walls, or chalkboard.


  • When using playdough , show the children how to make lines up, down and across, using a plastic pizza cutter.

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