Teaching Children to Write: A How-To Guide

Practicing writing at home can help kids develop their fine motor skills and prepare them for school. Teaching your child to write can seem like a daunting task, but there are several fun and simple ways for you to introduce the act of writing into your child's life.

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Getting Your Hands Dirty

The first step to teaching kids to write is to teach them to write the letters of the alphabet. Kids can practice the act of writing letters at home without even picking up a pen. You can spread pudding, shaving cream or finger-paint on a table or countertop and guide kids through the motions of writing each letter with their fingers. Kids will have fun making a mess as they learn how to write each letter.

Taking It to the Streets

If your child isn't quite ready to write with a pen or pencil, you can try using sidewalk chalk. Sidewalk chalk is thick and easy for kids to grab and maneuver. Write your child's name in chalk and have your child trace what you wrote before trying to write it himself or herself. Being outside and using bright colors makes this activity a fun way to practice writing.

Eat Your Words

This activity is for kids who like baking or eating! Using the cookie dough of your choice, roll the dough out like you're going to use cookie cutters, but instead help your child to create each letter of the alphabet. You can smash, roll or curve the dough to bake the alphabet from A to Z, or make special cookies for every family member that spell out their names or initials. This activity helps kids identify the different characteristics of the letters. You can ask questions like, 'Which letters have straight lines?' and 'Which letters have curves?' to help your child think about how each letter should look.

Practice Makes Perfect

Once kids are ready to write with pens or pencils, it's time to have them practice tracing the letters of the alphabet on paper. You can easily create your own tracing worksheets on your home computer by typing out the letters of the alphabet in a size that your child is able to trace and printing them out. You may need to start with letters so big that you can only fit one on a page, but as your child's writing skills progress, you can make the letters smaller and smaller. Once kids are comfortable with writing each individual letter, you can have them practice tracing their own name and the names of every person in the family. Before you know it, they'll be writing their names all by themselves.

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