Writing is a fundamental skill that everyone needs to learn and master in life.  It is a skill that is acquired through practice over time.  If you have toddlers or preschoolers, you do not need to rush into giving your child paper, crayons, or pencils.  There are ample prewriting activities that your child can do to prepare him/her to have a firm grip and control of the pencil or crayon.

Prewriting Activities

The prewriting activity examples we listed out can help develop the following skills and characteristics needed for writing.

·       Strong Hand and finger muscles to enable them to hold the pencil firmly and to control the movements.

·       Hand-eye coordination

·       Gross motor skills

.   Fine motor skills

·       Focus and concentration.


1.   Scooping and Transferring

It is one of the simplest activities that your child can do to strengthen his/her fine motor skills.


Two containers

Rice Grains Note: You can also use other materials like cereals, pasta, beans, beads, or water




1.     In a tray, place the two containers.

2.     Place the rice grains in one of the containers.

3.     Demonstrate how to scoop and transfer the rice grains.

4.     Let your child transfer the grains from one container to the other.

Note: If your child still tends to put things in his/her mouth, choose edible materials for scooping. 

 2.     Sensory Play

Any play activity that stimulates the sense of sight, smell, touch, taste, or hearing falls under Sensory Play.  It is a sure-fire hit for toddlers who are naturally curious and adventurous.


One big container

Shaving cream, water beads, kinetic sand, water, beans




1.     Place your choice of sensory material in the container.

2.     Let your child play with the material freely.

3.     Hammering

The activity involves hammering a peg into a thick Styrofoam or cork. It can strengthen your child’s arms, hand, and finger muscles.  Kids with excess energy will enjoy this activity.


Thick Styrofoam or Cork

Golf Tees

Toy hammer



1.     Place the Styrofoam or cork in the tray.

2.     Place the golf tees in a container.

3.     Let your child stick and hammer the tees in the Styrofoam or cork.

Note: For younger kids, you may already prepare the golf tees on the Styrofoam or cork.

4.   Threading

It involves stringing together objects on a yarn or rope.  It is a good practice to strengthen the pincer grip and lengthen your child’s focus and concentration.



Masking Tape


Penne Pasta or Wooden Beads


1.     Wrap the ends of the yarn with any tape.

2.     Put the Penne Pasta or Wooden Beads in a container

3.     Put the materials on a tray.

4.     Demonstrate how to thread the pasta into the yarn.

5.     Let your child place the pasta or wooden beads into the yarn.

5.   Lacing

This activity is excellent preparation for writing and other practical skills such as tying a shoe and sewing a cloth.


Recycled box carton or colored cardboard
Paint (optional)
Paintbrush (optional)
Water (optional)
Yarn or ribbon


1.     Cut the cardboard into any shape.

2.     Paint the cardboard (optional if you use colored cardboard).

3.     Punch holes into the outline of the cardboard.

4.     Demonstrate how to lace the yarn into the holes of the cardboard.

5.     Ask your child to insert the lace into the hole either along the outline or across the heart. 

6.       Playing with Clay or playdough

Clay and playdough are a fun way to get those little fingers to work.  It is also a great tool to teach other concepts such as colors, numeracy, and literacy.


Clay or Playdough

Molding materials (optional)

Mat (You can also print and laminate alphabet and number mats)


1.     Let your child freely mold different shapes using the playdough.

2.     You can also have your child mold into specific letters and numbers using the alphabet or number mat if available.

Note: You can make your playdough at home. Follow the instructions from our Instagram post.

7.       Color Sorting with Tongs

Tongs are a very versatile material that can be used for other activities.  You can also use it for painting, transferring, stacking, or cooking.


Colored Paper

Muffin Tray or multiple bowls

Pompom Balls or other colored objects



1.     Cut the colored paper to fit the muffin tray or bowl.

2.     Place the colored paper inside the chosen container.

3.     Put the pompom balls or other colored material in a bowl.

4.     Demonstrate how to pick up and transfer the object from the bowl to the container of the same color.

5.     Let your child sort the objects into the correct container.

8.     Cutting exercises

The motion of cutting papers is good for the finger muscles and eye-and-hand coordination.




Child-size scissors



1.     Draw broken lines on the paper.  It can be a straight line, a wavy line, or a crooked line.

2.     Place the paper and scissors in a tray.

3.     Demonstrate how to hold the scissors and cut the paper correctly.

4.     Let your child cut the paper by following the line.

9.     Use the Clothespin

Pinching the clothespin open is a good exercise for the pincer grip.



Bucket or Cardboard



1.     Choose a material that your child can pin the clothespin to.

2.     Place the clothes in a bowl.

3.     Demonstrate how to use the clothespin and pin it to the bucket.

4.     Let your child pin all around the bucket.

Note: You can add complexity to this activity by doing a matching activity.  It can become a color, number, or alphabet matching activity.

You can also have your child hang and pin the clothes if he can reach the clothesline.

10.  Finger Painting

It is a sensory activity that can also help develop your child’s creativity.





Rag or Sponge


1.     Place the paper inside the tray.

2.     Let your child paint using his/her fingers.

3.     Teach your child to clean up the rag or sponge.

11.  Trace the Letter on Sand


Salt or sand


Cardboard with letters on it

Cardboard holder or easel


1.     Place the salt and sand on the tray.

2.     Teach your child how to put the cardboard on the easel.

3.     Demonstrate how to use the sand tray and trace the letter.

4.     Let your child trace the letter on the salt or sand.

12.  Complete a knobbed puzzle.

Knobbed puzzles teach one-to-one coordination and exercise the pincer grip.

13. Have fun in the kitchen.

Many practical activities in the kitchen can serve as prewriting activities.  Slicing, pouring, and mixing provide good exercise for the arms and hand muscles. 

14.  Building blocks

Building and stacking develop spatial recognition, patience, focus, gross motor skills, and fine motor skills. Your child can use blocks, magnetic tiles, or rocks.

15.  Painting

Painting with a brush, cotton buds, and clothespin is a creative way to use the finger muscles and practice control.

There you have it!  With so many ideas to select from, which activity will you introduce first?

Tiny Steps

We play, learn and grow with children.

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