4 Activities for learning handwriting skills


Last week we had a parents evening for Reuben, just so we could catch up with his teacher and see how he was getting on. Turns out he’s doing fab, we is so lovely to hear after writing my post about his preschool experience a week or so ago.

The only area that we need to start working on a bit more is writing. Did you know that by the end of reception, children are expected to be writing a sentence with a full stop? That’s a lot for a 4-5 year old, don’t you think? It’s not that they get into trouble if they can’t, not by any stretch of the imagination, but that is what the government thinks is appropriate for their age. Turns out, it’s one of the things that Roo isn’t a fan of – putting pen to paper. It’s not that he can’t do it, more he doesn’t want to. He’s never been a huge colouring fan, nor does he really enjoy writing his letters. So I thought I’d take to good ole Pinterest and work out some ideas for helping develop hand writing at reception or preschool age.

Drawing and Handwriting books

Roo was given a pack of “Draw it yourself books” at Christmas by his Godparents and they are fab for helping kiddos to learn how to use their pens correctly, learn how to draw shapes and, ultimately, help their writing. Roo was especially captivated by the transport ones as he loves vehicles and planes so he spent ages on a Sunday afternoon drawing step by step objects and telling us what shapes he was making, ie. oval, circle, square.

Wipeable character boards

This is one of my favourites, and something that I actually have hanging around the house already in the form of lightening McQueen and his crew. I’m going to get Roo to use a wipeable pen to write his letters and eventually sentences about the character in question. He will enjoy it far more than just writing something that he’s not into.

Chalk board and water writing

Why have I not thought of this??? Excellent idea. So you write a word, then get your little one to hold the brush like a pen and go over your writing, effectively erasing your word. Water is involved, chalk is involved – all is good with this suggestion am I right?

Paint in a bag (pat mat)

Love this idea for helping encourage children’s handwriting skills. Fill a freezer bag with paint, put a sheet of paper in to act as a backing, then using a blunt object, trace out your letters. This is great for mess free pictures, the ultimate mess free activities for preschoolers too!

I can’t wait to try these out with Roo, certainly my favourite activities for learning handwriting skills on Pinterest. I saw an awful lot of phonics suggestions too so we will be working on that as we go.

Do you have any suggestions?

H x


  1. Avatar March 16, 2016 / 7:49 am

    We have my eldest struggling with writing. Going to try these tips.

    • Harriet March 16, 2016 / 2:07 pm

      Hope you get on well Jodie H x

  2. Avatar March 15, 2016 / 11:03 pm

    I’ve been doing the paint in a bag with my one year old, he loves it. The books are great for the kids My eldest does get lost in them, it encourages her handwriting and I’ve definitely seen a huge improvement since using them!

    • Harriet March 16, 2016 / 2:08 pm

      Ahh that is great to hear Kellie – we’re going to give that a go this weekend, hopefully we’ll get on well! H x

  3. Avatar March 15, 2016 / 7:35 pm

    Wow! What great ideas. I love the paint in a bag idea. I think my toddler would love this. I may have to give it a try xx

    • Harriet March 15, 2016 / 8:52 pm

      Thanks Sarah 🙂 H x

  4. Avatar March 15, 2016 / 3:50 pm

    I’m lucky that my girls were naturally very good at writing so I never had to worry. My son however I think will be different and need a lot more encouragement to write. Each child is different and will come along in their own time, but these are great tips for encouraging them.

    • Harriet March 15, 2016 / 8:54 pm

      I think Roo definitely needs a bit of encouragement, he’s just not as into writing as he is his maths. H x

  5. Avatar March 15, 2016 / 11:02 am

    My 4 year old boy is very similar! We use chalk and draw on the patio- messy but easily hosed down! He also likes the books where you join the dots (letters or pictures) which just helps with pencil control and holding it correctly. Having two older girls who were really keen on drawing and writing, I see a big difference with him but I’m not worried as they tend to level out in ability by around year 2. We put a lot of pressure on our little ones in this country, a lot of European countries don’t start them at school until the age of 6 or 7. Keep it fun! xx

    • Harriet March 15, 2016 / 3:11 pm

      I agree – so much pressure, especially so young. We’re lucky that Reuben’s teachers are so supportive and wonderful with him. He sees more or less everything as fun and playing – just what we wanted. H x

  6. Avatar March 15, 2016 / 1:36 am

    Oh my god I didn’t realise that much was expected of them when they are so young. I feel like my daughter can’t even hold a pencil correctly. These are great tips. I better start encouraging her more ASAP x

    • Harriet March 15, 2016 / 3:13 pm

      Thanks Kerry – yes it’s so much isn’t it!? I really do think it’s a bit much for a 4/5 year old. H x

  7. Avatar March 14, 2016 / 10:01 pm

    A tray of sand for making patterns / letters with your finger is also great for encouraging mark making – it’s easy to wipe away and try again.
    My son was a “typical boy” and definitely not a keen mark maker but he’s getting better now.

    • Harriet March 15, 2016 / 3:15 pm

      That is a fab idea Colette – I’ll give that a go! H x

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