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Pre- Writing Shapes

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Did you know that there are 9 pre-writing shapes that your child should master before they attempt to write letters? It’s all too tempted to run before walking, but it’s essential that these skills are mastered first. I did a little diagnostic task with Z first to see what stage she was at. Read on below for more…

9 Pre-Writing Shapes

Before we begin with the activity in question, here are the shapes:

I should also add that before putting a pencil in your child’s hands for the first time, they need the fine motor skills and hand strength to be able to attempt the pre-writing strokes. Some examples are:

  • Manipulating play dough
  • Threading beads
  • Using tweezers to pick up objects
  • Practising pincer grip with clothes pegs
  • Using the index finger to ‘write’ in a salt or flour tray
  • Plenty of art!
  • Using scissors
  • Painting with cotton buds.
  • Lacing cards
  • Using pipettes

Z (now aged 3.8 years) has been doing the above activities for a long time. She is able to manipulate tiny beads for threading practise and is a huge fan of play dough. If your little one is not used to these activities, please get working on them first, remembering to make it as playful as possible. You’ll find plenty of examples here and on my Instagram page too.

The Activity

Assuming that your child is ready for the next step, here’s the diagnostic activity we did. I simply drew all of the pre-writing shapes on the paper and invited her to copy over them with dot markers.

Some she did with ease and others were not attempted. I’m not going to say which, as I often feel that anxieties are caused when comparing children’s abilities. The activity was a great way of informing me of her capabilities and what we can work on next.

Look out for more pre-writing activities over the coming weeks and months, you can check back in on the ‘preschool’ category of the website or make sure you are following me on Instagram, Facebook or Pinterest – all three would be great too!

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This handy A4 PDF version for later reference

Sian Thomas

Sian Thomas

Sian is the founder of Teach Investigate Play. She helps parents navigate the early years by providing meaningful and simple activities. She also owns 'Get Set Social Media' - a social media consultancy for small businesses. From the UK, now living in Vienna (via Australia). About page has more!

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