Turn dollar store clipboards into travel size chalkboards. This idea comes straight from my son’s kindergarten classroom. They do handwriting on little chalkboards and his teacher even pointed out that traditional chalkboards provide resistance that smoother surfaces like dry erase don’t. New writers often need that resistance to be successful in shaping the letters. I made these during the week and when I put them out for my son this weekend I wasn’t even inside let alone ready with the camera before he was busy writing.
- Gather your materials. You will need some chalkboard paint ( ours is from ages ago when we made our wall chalk board) , dollar store clip boards, a paint brush,painter’s tape
and chalk for when it’s done.
- Start by taping off your board surface with painter’s tape.
- Paint. Let dry and add a 2nd coat.
- Peel off the tape. Voila – these cost me $1 each for the board, I already had the paint and tape and 47cents for the chalk. Pretty good deal.
- Write and write and write! He loves them and if you have been following the saga of my son hating to write you will know that him loving writing is a big deal. We just used a dusting cloth for an eraser, worked beautifully!
What I love about these is that they are small and light enough to take in a car or a plane but big enough for small hands to write on. They will definitely be in the bag for our next long plane ride but will be used all the time at home too.This post contains an affiliate link.
This week is fire prevention week and we’ve been sharing some of our fire truck and firefighter themed crafts on our Pinterest and Facebook now it’s time for something new on the blog. This fire truck math activity is really also a writing one although I only marketed it as a math one for my son. See he isn’t super keen on writing but he loves math. He is a bit of a perfectionist and writing takes practice and it’s hard. So to temper the frustration he feels with writing I added a fun theme and another appealing task , the math. There was still some frustration but there were a lot of smiles too.
- Gather your materials. You will need some red paper, a black marker, a pencil, and scissors.
- Start by drawing the outline of a fire truck. This does NOT need to be perfect, as you can see mine wasn’t and this took we 3 tries. One tip is to draw on on scrap paper and when it’s just right cut it out and use that as a template. Cut out however many you want.
- Add some windows, tires and the most important part the ladder. The rungs on the ladder are what your child will count and then write on the body of the truck.
- I cut out 7 but only drew on 5 not knowing if my son would want more than 5 . Good thing I did as you will see.
- Count the ladder rungs.
- Write. After a few he asked if these were all I had. I grabbed the 2 extra and filled them in.
- Keep going. Flip over and write on the back if they want more!
One of the things I hear from a lot of parents with children entering Kindergarten is that their child can’t write and they are worried about it. First thing is that your child probably can write but not as clearly as you think they ought to . There is a lot of pressure ( on kids and parents) and if your kids are anything like mine practice when they know it’s practice is not only low on the fun scale but it can actually be very discouraging. Finding a balance between drill and fun is important. These fine motor activities help develop the crucial skills needed for being a successful writer. We also have a great list of worksheet free writing activities to check out.
Pound and Learn Hammering
Dry Erase Mazes
Simple Cereal Bird Feeders
Paint Chip Color Match
Write and Trace Place Mats
Lock & Key
Dry Erase Word Search
Clothes Pin Patterns
Design Your Own Lacing Pattern
Alphabet Glue Tracing
Playdough Play Toy Prints
Mining For Shapes
Yesterday was my son’s last day of preschool and we made these super simple art cards for his friends to wish them a super summer. These would also make fantastic Father’s Day cards. It was also a great way to get him writing . Real world writing projects where the writing is purposeful are a great way to get reluctant kids to write. My son sat down and happily drew and then signed his name on all 14 cards which is a big deal for us because he definitely falls into the reluctant writer category. It was so easy and took no time at all , here’s what we did.
- Start with some markers and plain printer paper.
- Have your child draw a picture.
- Scan and save.
- Next we used picmonkey.com to add text. My son decided which fonts to use and the background color too.
- Then we printed as a 5×7 and folded.
- And back to the table to write .
So easy and he had a blast making them . I think we will be making many more .
One way I build literacy skills with my preschool daughter is to dedicate time to journal writing. Our journal time is inspired by what I learned when I facilitated Lucy Calkin’s Writing Workshop with my former students. My daughter is a pre-writer because she writes only a few words and no sentences, but she can develop language skills by composing her thoughts into a writing journal. Through journal writing, she learns the ideas she talks about can be put onto paper.
We begin journal writing by reviewing what we wrote about the previous day. Then, I model one simple writing idea in my own journal. When I first modeled journal writing, I drew a picture and wrote. I observed that my daughter was very hesitant to write anything in her journal. Now, I only draw pictures in my journal, and she has become more confident and independent in creating her own ideas in her journal.
Below are some writing ideas that I have used for my daughter, but when you model writing for your child make sure the writing is relevant to your child’s life.
- How To’s – brush teeth, do laundry, bake cookies
- People and Pets - Mama, Papa, grandparents, cats
- Events – parties, trip to library, holidays
- Their World – rain, home, school, grocery store
- Likes – food, clothes, places, television shows
- Feelings – sad, happy, angry
- Learning – topics of interest such as planets, wild animals, weather, numbers
After I have modeled writing, my daughter begins to write about her idea. She is free to write about a topic that interests her, and she doesn’t need to write about the same topic I showed her that day. During this time, she works independently for about five minutes. She often writes about a new topic, but I do notice she has other typical behaviors displayed during journal time.
- writing name over and over
- letter writing practice
- copying Mama’s work
- a lot of family and pet pictures
Once she has finished writing, she tells me about her writing. I transcribe her words on the page. Sometimes she doesn’t want me to write directly on her page, and I will write her ideas on a sticky note. I stay positive about the work she shows me even if she has spent the entire time scribbling. I know she doesn’t end up scribbling every day, and there may be some days she has hard time figuring out what she would like to write in her journal.
Journal writing builds children’s confidence in their writing ideas. It allows children to learn to stay focused on writing tasks. As children develop, they will start writing more words in their journals.
Rebekah is a former elementary school teacher who now is a stay at home mom. In her blog, The Golden Gleam, she shares art, play, and learning ideas to light up kids’ lives.