Pre-writing skills are important for the preschool age, developing the control and writing grip as they’re learning letters and numbers. This fun activity is great for a 3 or 4 year old learning to hold a pen or pencil correctly and beginning to develop more control over their strokes as well. Keep reading to see the full activity!
- Sand (or sugar as I’m using)
- Small rocks of different sizes, but all small enough to hold between your preschooler’s two fingers.
- Other utencils like a straw, paint brush, pencil, fork
- Paper plate (with sides) or tray
- One or more preschool aged child
Have your preschooler carefully pour some sand or sugar into the paper plate or tray
Show them how to gently shake the plate to even out the sand
Have them pick out a rock to start drawing with. The great thing about small rocks is that it forces them to use their fingers to grip as opposed to their fist, which is how toddlers first hold a pen or pencil. Ask them to draw a letter (if they know them) or a simple shape, or even draw a simple shape for them on a piece of paper and ask them to copy that shape in the sand.
Even small rocks, like this one above really helps with their ‘pincher’ movement which is exactly what they need to develop for pre-writing skills. These small rocks help them learn to hold a writing utensil correctly.
After the rocks, have them try another skinnier object like the brush or fork. Again, ask them to draw a shape or copy something you’ve drawn on paper. Remind them how to gently shake the paper plate to ‘erase’ the image they drew.
Here we’re writing the letters in his name. He asked me to write it for him first onto paper for him to copy.