Kindergarten Handwriting

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

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.

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

You can help prepare your child for kindergarten handwriting by working on the underlying pre-writing skills.

Pre-Writing Skills Needed 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.

Here are some ideas:

Suspended Ball Activities

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.

suspended ball activities for eye-hand coordinationSuspend a ball in a net

Follow The Large Path

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.

tracing patterns is good for eye-hand coordination skillsTrace paths on a blackboard

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.

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.

visual motor tracing activitiesVisual Motor Tracing

Visual motor 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.

overlapping linesOverlapping Lines

You can browse more eye-hand coordination activity ideas on my site.

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Visual Perceptual Skills

Your child needs to develop visual perceptual skills to help see the differences between letters and numbers. Good visual perception can help your child identify letters and copy them correctly.

Try some visual discrimination activities such as Where’s Wally and other puzzle books or Seek and Find Books.

Good visual memory skills will help your child to remember what letters look like. It can 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. Try playing "Concentration" to boost visual memory skills.

puzzle books for visual discrimination skillsTry Puzzle Books
concentration games build visual memory skillsPlay Concentration

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Fine Motor Skills

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.

scissor cutting is important for kindergartenLots of Scissor Cutting

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. Try some hand strengthening exercises!

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!

developing fine motor skills in kindergartenLots of Hand and Finger Activities

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Visual Motor Integration

Elsewhere on my site, I have explained visual-motor integration in some detail.

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.

poor VMI affects copying skillsPoor VMI affects copying skills

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.

practice tracing skills before copying skills - this child is tracing the number "3"Tracing numbers

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

I use these resources a LOT when helping kindergarten kids develop these skills: Follow the Path and Grid Drawing.

Monster Mazes also has pages that work on visual-motor integration as well as eye-hand coordination.

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Get Letter Formations Right From The Start!

It is really important that your child learns the correct number and letter formations from the very beginning, even when just learning to write his/her own name.

Handwriting Heroes#Ad have got a brilliant program for doing this - you can teach your child all the correct letter formations in just 5 weeks!

Check out my letter formation activities, and my page of letter formation tips and strategies for ideas to help your child master these skills!

There is a free printable download to remind you of all the important steps!

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Easier Activities

If your child needs simpler ideas than these, then take a look on these pages for some inspiration:

Resources To Help Prepare Your Child For Handwriting

OT Mom E-Books

My OT Mom E-books contain a variety of gross and fine motor activities that you can do at home to help prepare your child for handwriting.

For the price of a couple of coffees, you can download, save and print loads of activities to help your child develop the skills needed for school.

Letter Formation Program

Handwriting Heroes #Ad is a lovely, multi-sensory program that teaches your child letter formation and handwriting skills, with animations, rhymes, stories and interesting pictures to help reinforce the correct formation.

They make use of digital resources, rhymes, music, printables and more!

Visual Motor Worksheets

Use these printable visual motor worksheets to supplement your child's hands-on activities and help prepare your child for kindergarten handwriting.

Thanks for visiting my site!

I hope you found this information helpful for getting your kindergarten child ready for handwriting!

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get your kindergarten child ready for handwriting

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