Submitted by sam on Thu, 09/09/2021 - 09:19

7 Simple Prewriting Activities for Your Preschooler

Before children can master how to form letters and handwriting, they must first learn basic pre-writing skills. In this post, we will introduce you to some helpful prewriting activities and skills.

What are prewriting activities?

The lines and strokes that make up letters and other written forms are all part of “prewriting skills”. Children practice and master these steps before they learn how to write the letters of the alphabet. Lines should be practiced in sequence. The method and speed at which children learn lines and strokes depend on each child’s age. Below is a quick guide to the developmental sequence:

  • At age 2, most children will start to imitate writing a vertical line. Then around age 3, they will copy and master drawing vertical lines.

  • Around age 2 and 1/2, they will start to imitate drawing horizontal lines. They can copy and master these lines around age 3.

  • Drawing circles can be imitated by children when they're 2 and 1/2. At age 3, they can copy and master drawing this shape.

  • Drawing cross shapes can be imitated by children aged 3 and 1/2. They can copy them by age 4. 

  • Children start to learn to draw squares at age 4.

  • Children start to learn to draw right and left diagonal lines at age 4 and 1/2.

  • Children can draw triangles and Xs at age 5.

Why are prewriting activities important?

Prewriting activities are vital because it is during this phase of the writing process in which children start putting their ideas in print. They are the foundation that enables children to learn how to write efficiently. 

Prewriting Activities for Preschoolers


Playdough is a great option for prewriting activities. It improves children's fine motor skills as they flatten, roll, pull, and shape the dough. This activity also improves dexterity. 

Make the most out of this activity by using accessories such as molding kits, scissors, and loose parts. If you want to take this activity to the next level, check out some playdough recipes online and have some fun doing them with your children.


This pre-writing activity works best for preschoolers. Pour some paint on a flat surface and let children dip their fingers in the water. They can use just one hand or both hands to do this activity. When they’re finished, children need to squeeze out the excess water from their fingertips and watch how it forms droplets and drips down the surface. This is a great way to introduce the concept of learning letters to preschoolers.

You can help children create letter paintings by tracing their hands with felt-tip pens on paper or cardboard. When they’re done, let them paint over them using watercolors. Afterward, you can hang up their letter paintings in your home.

Creating art with cars

Painting with toy cars is great for children who love vehicles. The tracks they produce with paint are a great way to grab their attention. You can also attach a marker and let your child draw lines as they control the car.

Drawing on boxes

This activity helps children learn how to create different shapes. They can use their fingers, hands, or feet to draw on a box of any size and shape. You can add colors in between the lines, or just use a black marker.

Cutting activities

Snipping and cutting with scissors help children develop control and fine motor skills. During some sessions, allow them to freely cut and snip any figures that they want. Then on other days, you can draw shapes with different outlines (curved or straight) or corners, and have children cut out the figures.

Cutting activities don't have to be limited to scissors and paper. Make it even more challenging and fun by using gelatin or playdough. 

Scoop and pour

Set up two containers. Place some rice, sand, or any other item in the containers. Then have your child transfer some of the rice or sand by scooping some from one container, and pouring the contents out of the other. Through this prewriting activity, your child can develop hand stability and strength.

Ball-throwing games

Throwing and catching a ball are great for strengthening the arms, exercising elbows and shoulders, and practicing wrist rotation. These large movements are beneficial to children when they finally start writing.

At Mrs. Myers' Reading Room, we support pre-writing activities in our classes. Contact us today for more information!


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