Teaching kids how to write doesn’t have to be all about repetition. There is absolutely a time and a place for that while learning to form specific letters but these writing activities are less structured, more creative and a good compliment to the drill that comes with learning to write. Some of these activities are drawing which is often the key to making practice fun . Let them draw , encourage them to draw and provide tools for them to draw as much as possible. Many kids who aren’t fans of writing aren’t as unhappy with drawing so use that as your door to making them love writing too.
Dry Erase Mazes
Count & Write Fire Trucks
Kid Designed Valentine’s
Write and Trace Place Mats
Sandpaper Letter Tracing
Counting Around The House
Fill In The Blank Stories
Journal Writing For Pre-Writers
Heart Chalk Boards
Dry Erase Doodle Mats
Catalog Drawing Prompts
For more writing ideas do not miss our Reading & Writing Readiness board on Pinterest. Along with other bloggers I share my favorite reading and writing ideas from all around the web.
We were completely out of baby wipes and while rushing through Walmart these shiny hearts caught my eye. I grabbed them and stood there turning them over in my hand until I knew exactly what Valentine’s Day craft I was going to make with them! Simple Valentine’s day themed chalkboards. My kids love chalkboards and I love anything that inspires them to draw and write. The pack of 3 Wilton cake platers cost me $3.95 , the ribbon cost a buck and this chalkboard paint has been in my garage for years.
- Gather your materials. You will need the cardboard hearts , scissors, chalkboard paint, a brush, something to protect your floor/ table, something to make a hole in the cardboard with ( I used a Robertson head screwdriver and a hammer but I bet a pen would work) , ribbon and chalk.
- Start by painting your hearts. I painted one on the shiny side and one on the plain cardboard side. I wasn’t sure if the paint would adhere to the shiny surface. I am telling you Benjamin Moore really is rad paint. After they were dry you couldn’t tell a difference at all. Let dry.
- Thread the ribbon through. I decided to do two different styles . You will probably want the ribbon to be wired just because it makes threading it through the hole a breeze.
- Time to write ! I tested it out first to make sure it would erase well. It did. Then let my little ones go for it. My son was initially unhappy that the ribbon was pink but as I went off in search of a different color he called me back saying it was OK. Perhaps the anti pink phase is weaning? One can hope.
- After they decorated it all I hung them up in our hall way to add to our Valentine’s Day decor. I think these would be fun gifts for your kids on Valentine’s Day too or you could make these Monogrammed Hearts I created for Melissa & Doug’s blog last week.
Books About Love
Check out our recent round up of great picture books. This list is all about love in all different forms. Read all 14 book reviews here.
My son is in kindergarten and his teacher asked for each kid to address and sign each valentine for their class. I think this is great because it is great real world aka purposeful writing for this age group. Little store bought valentines are usually well little and hard to fit kindergarten sized hand writing in without major frustration and potential set backs in confidence of their writing ability. I wasn’t planning on posting this but when I saw how into it my son was I knew others might benefit.
- Gather your materials. You will need some graphics program – I use picmonkey.com It’s easy to use ( I barely helped my son after giving him a quick tour). If you are going to print it out on regular printer paper like we did you may also want some construction paper and glue to make a backing. You will also want a class list and a sharp pencil with eraser.
- Start by playing around with picmonkey deciding on the design. I showed my son options and he chose the font, did most of the typing and moving the items around the page. * Disclaimer this picture is a recreation of the real events. We did this last night in a dark living room while my youngest and husband cleaned up after dinner. He’s actually admiring a picture of himself on pinterest… but you get the idea!
- This is his design.
- Print. I printed ours at a 3.5×5 size 4 to a page.
- Glued them on the construction paper and cut them out. Set them out with the class list and invited him to choose 4-5 friends to write them to. I like doing them in batches because it makes the task manageable. Writing is hard and I think because we do it so effortlessly we forget how much effort it once took us. Do it in little bits and it will be much easier. My son loved designing these and with a bunch of birthday parties coming up he can’t wait to make more .
This is another part of our learning after school series. I try to engage my son in fun things after school and when I asked him what he wanted to work on he said math. He loves math and comes by it very very naturally. His dad has a bachelors degree in engineering with a minor in math and a MBA in finance. Yeah numbers are well loved in our house . Even I love math although I didn’t always. It wasn’t until I was teaching it to students that I found the fun in numbers.
- Gather your materials. You will need a jar , some hearts ( any hearts will do – we used foam ones but paper, heart erasers, heart candies will all work), The printable found here and again below and a pencil with an eraser.
- Start by printing out the printable – click here or on the image for download. It looks grainy in the pdf but it’s clear when downloaded.
- Lay out the sheet, pencil and hearts and let your little math whiz at it. Of course this is more than just a math lesson. My son is working on writing numbers in kindergarten right now and this is my tricky way of practicing without making him write them over and over again. If the 8 questions are too much do 2 or 3 and put it away for a day or two and complete the rest after. Learning isn’t a sprint it’s a marathon so go slow if needed! He estimated, counted, sorted and counted and wrote some more.
My daughter got this Melissa & Doug easel from Santa and she loves it but at our house we share most everything and her brother got a chance to play with the easel with this Fill in the Blank Easel Story. Writing , spelling and reading all come together with creativity and storytelling in this fast to set up activity. If you do not have an easel you can enter for a chance to win one from Melissa & Doug below or use a big sheet of paper on the wall. The reason I am suggesting the wall or an easel is because when kids write on vertical surfaces likes these their arms, wrists and hands naturally go into the proper position for writing. This makes it easier for many kids that struggle and doesn’t hurt those who aren’t either.
- Gather your materials. You will need some dry erase makers, a dry erase board / easel and a big imagination.
- Start by writing out a simple story on the easel with dry erase markers. Here is mine – Once upon a time there was a ________ named _________. He was brave, smart and ____________ . One day he found a magic ____________ and it started to ____________. He thought that is was amazing and ran to show his ___________. when he got home his magic ____________ disappeared! He looked for it everyday but never saw it again.
- Invite your writer to come fill in the blanks. Have them read it out loud.
- Fill in the blanks. My son kept asking me how to spell things. Here is what I do when he asks. I will ask him first to sound it out. If he is struggling I will help. Generally I ask that he uses his 6 year old spelling for everything. Spelling is developmental and if we skip stages in development there can be struggles later on. Invented spellings are a really important step. Kids aren’t misspelling things they are just spelling them at their level of development. As your child progresses feel free to correct them little by little. My son can read well and simple words like dog, hat, car are ones that I would not hesitate to correct his spelling but words like furious, sword or friends I am still encouraging him to sound out and spell at his level. Interestingly he spelled sword correctly later in the lesson.
- He didn’t like my ending so he edited it. ” When he got home his magic sword would shock people.”
- When he was done writing he proudly read it back to me.
Watching my son write this really showed me how hard white boards can be for new and struggling writers. Many need the friction of a chalkboard to help them form letters correctly. This easel has a black board on the other side and if you aren’t lucky enough to win it in our sweepstakes you can make your own dollar store ones like we did.
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Fill out the form below. Please only one entry per household. SWEEPSTAKES NOW CLOSED
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