Pre-writing skills are foundational skills that will make writing easier and fun for children even before they learn letter formation and pencil control. In this article learn more about the sensory activities to help develop pre-writing skills for preschoolers.
Writing as a skill, is a process that begins much before a child starts to write letters and words. The Indian education system gives writing utmost importance and rightfully so as it is a skill that every human being should possess. However, most of the times it is given importance from the perspective of achieving higher grades rather than learning it as a skill. But now, you have the opportunity to allow your child to learn writing from the perspective of a life skill which in turn will help reduce the pressure that parents unknowingly put on to their children.
But before writing, comes pre-writing skills that are essential for a child to learn letter formation and pencil control. Here is the list of skills that needs to be developed before your little ones start their writing journey with letters and words:
Gross Motor Skills
This involves movement activities for the whole body. Writing involves well developed fine motor skills and fine motor skills cannot be developed if the child’s gross motor skills are not in place. In order to learn to write, children must have control of their bodies and develop their gross motor skills.
Posture & Core control
Children need the correct posture and core control to sit on a desk and write for longer durations without getting tired. The perfect posture for writing is sitting straight with feet flat on the floor and arms at right angles to the table. Most children struggle with this posture which in turn impacts their writing and other activities they do at school. So, learning how to control posture is definitely high on the list.
Crossing the midline
Generally writing involves holding a pencil in right hand and writing on the left of the page. A child needs to learn to cross the midline to be able to perform this task. It is easy to spot a midline crossing problem when you see that a child’s writing slants from the left of the page towards the right (each new line starts a little further away from the margin).
Every task in our daily routine including writing, sports & reading requires hand-eye coordination. Your brain needs to track the position of the pencil and control the hand and finger movements. When reading, your brain is visually tracking as you move from left to right and down to the next line.
Fine motor skills
It involves small muscle movements that control the hand, fingers and thumb. This is one of the most essential skills required for writing as it helps develop dexterity and strength to write.
10 activities to develop pre-writing skills
- Finger Play Rhymes – Finger Play is hand movements coordinated with a song, rhyme, or occasionally a short story. The movements may be gross, meaning they involve the entire hand in a large motion such as waving. Or they could be fine, where they involve smaller, more detailed movements of the fingers. For e.g. – Rhymes like Baby Shark, One Little Finger, Twinkle Twinkle,
- Piggy Bank – Allow your child to pick up the coin and push it down the piggy bank. This involves movement of fingers, wrist and the whole arm. This is a simple and great activity to develop pre-writing skill.
- Throwing & Catching a Ball – This is a useful activity to develop hand-eye coordination that is required for sports as wells as reading and writing.
- Threading & Lacing – Threading and lacing are great for developing concentration as well as practicing controlled movements. Your child has to coordinate his/her eyes and fingers carefully in order to do this task.
- Pulling Apart the Cotton Balls – Give one cotton ball to your child in one hand and let the child pull apart the cotton ball.
- Paper Tearing – Give waste paper to children and allow them to tear the paper. Paper tearing helps in developing fine motor skills and is a prerequisite to writing.
- Playdough – Creating letters or objects using play dough is a must activity for all the children before writing.
- Tracing in Salt/Rava/Sand – Allow your child to draw in a tray filled with salt or rava or sand. If the child is introduced to letters, the child can draw letters in the tray as well.
- Cloth Pegs – Allow your child to squeeze clothes pegs to remove them from the rim of a peg basket (or ice-cream container) or squeeze pegs positioned on a clothes horse to remove dolls clothes or dress ups. This activity helps strengthen their fingers as they squeeze the clothes pegs.
- Watering Plants – Allow your child to water plant using spray bottle, another activity that helps strengthen their fingers as they spray and play!
When the child is not willing to write, it is important to understand the root cause for the same, rather than assuming that the child is lazy or does not enjoy writing. In my counselling sessions, we are amazed to diagnose the root cause of hatred towards writing. Once the root cause is diagnosed, we will be able to provide the right support required for the child to enjoy writing. As I mentioned earlier, learning is a skill which eventually every child will possess. Instead of pressurizing a child to write, let’s work towards making writing more fun for children.