October 2023 Newsletter – Prewriting Skills in Early Childhood: Prewriting Activities for Infants and Toddlers

Prewriting Activities for Infants and Toddlers

In the early years, caregivers should be filling the learning environment with opportunities for children to explore materials with their hands.  This will ensure that they are developing the fine motor skills required to grasp and manipulate writing tools when the appropriate time arises.  Writing instruction is not developmentally appropriate for children of this age, however, there are many engaging activities children can try.  Here are just a few:

  • Encourage scribbling – It may seem wasteful, but having access to crayons and paper is extremely important for the development of writing skills.
  • Provide finger foods – Picking up finger food is a motivating way to strengthen hand grip!
  • Playdough activities – Encourage children to squeeze, pound, roll, and pinch dough to strengthen muscle coordination.
  • Dancing – Dancing increases core strength and promotes crossing the midline of the body. Add ribbons and model new moves for children to try.
  • Finger-plays – Games and songs that encourage children to move their fingers in specific ways can build strength and coordination.
  • Cutting practice – Younger children are probably not ready to cut full sheets of paper but they can snip small pieces of paper, straws, dough, and other materials that are suitable for their small fingers. Adaptive scissors that spring open may make this task easier for young learners.
  • Building blocks and manipulatives – There’s a wide variety of blocks and manipulatives on the market, including puzzles, sorting/stacking items, and interlocking blocks.
  • Dress up – Providing clothes for dolls and for the children to wear promotes self-help skills and hand-eye coordination.
  • Novel materials – Introduce interesting materials that promote fine motor development such as tongs, clothes pins, and tweezers. Many of these products have been redesigned for little hands, and in some cases, the actual items will be appropriate for young children to use.
  • Sensory table activities – Be sure to include tools for stirring, scooping, pouring, and sifting.

There are endless ideas for promoting fine motor development available online and likely in the curriculum used by your program.  Regardless of the activity or materials used, be sure to incorporate and honor children’s interests. Children should not be forced to participate in these activities.  Instead, follow the child’s lead.  Uncover the items or topics that the child is interested in and design engaging activities that incorporate fine motor skills practice.

For the main article Prewriting Skills in Early Childhood, CLICK HERE

For the article The Development of Writing Skills, CLICK HERE

For the article Prewriting Skills, CLICK HERE

For the article Prewriting Activities for Preschoolers, CLICK HERE