Kindergarten Handwriting

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These kindergarten handwriting tips and activities are designed to help your child establish a good foundation for future handwriting skills.

How Do I Prepare My Child For
Kindergarten Handwriting?

Because I believe that young children should NOT be spending a lot of time on seat work, these activities are designed to prepare your kindergarten child for handwriting, and not just for practicing letter formations.

You can help prepare your child for kindergarten handwriting by working on the underlying skills that are needed for good handwriting.

Merely sitting your child down to practice a handwriting worksheet will probably not help much!

I have listed these underlying skills below. The quick links will take you to the relevant section on this page to get some helpful tips and easy activity ideas to help prepare your child for kindergarten handwriting.

Eye-Hand Coordination

In preschool and kindergarten, children should be using large movement activities to improve eye-hand coordination skills, and then transferring these skills to short periods of pencil-and-paper activities.

Working on eye hand coordination will help your child to be able to work within the lines when formal handwriting begins.

1) Gross Motor Eye-Hand Activities

Suspended Ball Activities

Suspended Ball Helps Eye-Hand Coordination

Set up a suspended ball in a net and have your child practice hitting it with a bat or even just pushing and catching it.

Follow The Large Path

Tracing On A Large Surface

Draw a long path (random loops and squiggles or a pattern) on a blackboard or outside wall, and have your child trace over your path.

Make it more interesting by drawing some bugs on the left hand side, and then have your child use a different color to take each bug along the path to a flower on the other side.

2) Desktop Eye-Hand Activities

Although I do not recommend lots of desk work in kindergarten, there are times when some paper and pencil visual motor activities can be really useful.

Visual Motor Tracing

These awesome LONG visual motor printables were a hit with my kids. They can be laminated to use over and over with wipe-clean markers.

Overlapping Lines

Worksheets that include mazes, overlapping lines, and tracing paths are also useful for working on eye-hand coordination skills.

This will help your child to write more neatly in the lines when formal handwriting begins.

Your child could also trace lots of patterns on cutting lines and then make a fun creation with the cut-out lines.

Tracing Patterns
A Spider Cutting Activity!

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Visual Perceptual Skills

Try Puzzle Books
Play Concentration

Your child needs to develop visual perceptual skills to help see the differences between letters and numbers to help with the correct formations.

If your child's letter formations are haphazard and irregular, it will cause his/her handwriting to look rather messy.

Try some visual discrimination activities such as Where’s Wally and other puzzle books, and visual memory activities like Concentration, to boost visual perceptual skills.

If visual memory is good, it will help your child to remember what letters look like, and will also help your child learn to copy words down from the board more quickly, as he/she will be able to remember what was seen and not need to check back as often, which can slow your child down in a handwriting lesson.

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Fine Motor Skills

Lots of Hand and Finger Activities
Lots of Scissor Cutting

Fine motor skills play a big role in kindergarten handwriting. By now your child may have learned to hold a pencil correctly.

However, just being able to hold a pencil does not mean that the hand and fingers are ready for lots of handwriting!

Keep the hand muscles growing stronger with lots of scissor cutting and playdough activities, and work on increasing finger dexterity.

This will help your child to control the pencil, which will help with attaining neat handwriting.

Strong hands will also tire less easily, which means your child will have a better chance of keeping up with the volume of writing required from the first grade onwards.

Remember, cutting out along a line also helps your child to focus visually on what the hands are doing – a good start for kindergarten handwriting!

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Visual Motor Integration

Elsewhere on my site, I have explained visual-motor integration in some detail. (see the links at the bottom of my page)

As far as kindergarten handwriting is concerned, visual-motor integration (VMI) plays an essential role in helping your child to be able to copy/draw shapes, numbers and letters.

VMI helps your child to perceive the shape/number/letter and then to form it correctly.

The kindergarten child whose sheet is shown here, had poor VMI, and was unable to copy age-appropriate simple shapes accurately.

In Kindergarten, you can reinforce the copying and drawing of shapes, before working on numbers and letters.

If your child struggles with numbers and letters, go back and check that they can draw shapes and intersecting diagonal lines properly.

If they struggle with shapes and diagonals, then spend some time on those areas.

After your child has spent some time working in large formats, try some simple grid pictures or dot pictures for your child to copy.

These 2 sets of printable (downloadable) worksheets have been a big help to me (these links open in a new window/tab): Follow the Path and Grid Drawing.

Monster Mazes also has pages that work on visual-motor integration as well as eye-hand coordination. (The links take you to my reviews of the worksheets)

It is really important that your child learns the correct number and letter formation once you start working on letters and numbers.

Nellie Edge (opens in a new window) gives some really helpful tips on this. Start with the letters of your child’s name, and ask your child’s teacher if you are unsure what the correct letter formations are.

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Easier Activities

If your child needs simpler ideas than these, then try these:

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Dig Deeper - Related Pages

Eye-Hand Coordination:

Visual Perceptual Skills:

Check out a whole range of my visual perception activity ideas over here – they are easy to do and can really help boost your child’s foundation for reading and writing.

Fine Motor Skills:

Visual Motor Integration

And these are some free printable alphabet worksheets (opens in a new window) that you can use for kindergarten handwriting once your child has had LOTS of large tracing practice.

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