Fun Ways to Practice Handwriting

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Ugh.  How can handwriting be fun?  Whether you are teaching little ones to write letters for the first time, or trying to get your elementary kiddo to practice his handwriting, here are some ideas to try out:

WRITING TOOLS- Don’t get stuck in the pencil and paper rut.  Get creative and try out some new tools!

  • colored pencils–  It’s more fun, but might lead to frustration when it won’t erase.
  • crayons- Same as colored pencils, but they come in more shapes (big, triangular, etc.) for little hands.
  • pens– Kids are usually very motivated to write with a pen.  Maybe it seems grown-up?  Let them pick out a cool pen with a character, feather, or other funny top.
  • markers– Save yourself some headache and only have washable markers in the house!
  • chalk– Use on paper or outside.  What could be better than enjoying some sunshine and practicing letters on the sidewalk?  Not the best for cursive, but great for teaching preschoolers.
  • dry erase markers– Very easy to erase, but watch out that they only mark on the board!
  • Magna Doodle– My girls love writing on them!  I love them because they are easy to keep in my purse or the car for on-the-go entertainment.
  • paintbrush- Try out different sizes of brushes to see how the letters look different.
  • Q-tips- Dip them in water or paint and start writing!

WRITING SURFACES- Instead of lined paper, give these a try…

  • sand– Making letters is a great activity for the sandbox.  Dig down to find some wet sand.
  • dirt– Use a twig or your finger.
  • sidewalk– Try out chalk or a paintbrush with water.
  • someone’s back– Play a game and write a letter on someone’s back and have them try to guess it!
  • iPad or other touch screen– There are LOTS of writing apps for teaching letters.
  • ziploc bag filled with paint– This is great fun for little ones!
  • flour (or rice or salt) on a cookie tray– This is a messier option to a ziploc bag.
  • shaving cream on a table– Another messy (but fun) option!

Remember to take some time to teach the proper way to write letters.  It is easier to teach the right way, than unlearn the wrong way!

Learning with Chalk

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Drawing with sidewalk chalk is a great summer activity.  It’s cheap, easily washable, and gets kids outside enjoying the sunshine.  Encourage your kids to do lots of free drawing, but also try out some of these ideas.  Don’t overload them….just one or two ideas per chalk session.

(Common Core Standards appear in italics.  They correlate with specific standards in different grade levels.  These standards are used in almost every school in the country.  Click the Common Core tab above to learn more.)

Babies

  • Let them feel the chalk and try to make marks on different surfaces
  • Color in one spot so there is a lot of chalk dust.  Put baby’s hands in it and see if you can help them make hand prints on the pavement.  Messy, but fun!

Toddlers and Preschoolers

  • Draw different colored shapes a few feet apart.  Play a game and ask them to stand on the blue circle.  Then walk (or run, skip, hop, etc.) to the purple rectangle.  (kindergarten-Identify and describe shapes)
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  • Big sidewalk chalk is perfect beginning writers.  Draw dotted lines of shapes, letters, or numbers and see if they can trace it.  Or write a letter first and see if they can copy it. (kindergarten- Print many upper- and lowercase letters)
  • Write their name in REALLY big letters and have them walk the letters of their name.
  • Write numbers in order.  Let kids hop from number to number counting as they go.  (kindergarten- Know the number names and count sequence)IMG_6338
  • Draw a path for kiddos to use with their tricycle or bicycle.
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Elementary

  • Make a Twister board with chalk and call out directions if you don’t have a spinner.
  • Trace around your kiddo and then have him design and color the clothing.  Or he could draw the organs (heart, brain, lungs, etc.) in their proper spot.
  • Make a large grid.  Work together to make a different pattern in each square of the grid.
  • Tell addition stories and have your child draw to solve the problem.  For example, “I have 3 apples.  Then I buy 4 more.  How many apples do I have now?”   (grades 1 and 2- Represent and solve problems using addition and subtraction)
  • Write numbers in order, but leave some out and have your kiddo fill in the missing numbers.  Then have them skip count and hop to the different numbers.
  • Kids write out the alphabet in big letters.  Then say a word and they run from letter to letter to spell it.   (grades K-6- Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing)
  • Write out a silly sentence incorrectly (no capitalization or punctuation) and have kids correct your mistakes.  (grades K-6- Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing)
  • Ask kids to draw shapes and then divide them into equal parts to make fractions.  (grades 1,2,3- Reasons with shapes and their attributes)