Reading and writing go together. Writing helps children understand that print has meaning. Children go through developmental stages with writing, just as they do with speaking and reading. Here are some ways you can help your child develop their writing skills at various ages.
Tips and recommendations
The beginning of writing for very young children is learning how to use their hands and fingers so that later they will know how to hold crayons and pencils. When your child first grabs a spoon – this is a step towards the coordination needed to write!
All of the activities below will help your child physical skills they need:
- Grabbing your finger (or any object, really)
- Picking up cheerios
- Finger painting with yoghurt. Instead of using regular paint, swap it out with pudding or yoghurt. Let your baby draw with these foods on a paper plate. This way, there’s no concern with your little one putting their fingers in their mouth. This activity will help you baby build find motor skills and will stimulate their sense of touch. Plus, it’s fun!
- Fingerplays – these simple rhymes and songs include movements that children can make their hands and fingers, which helps them develop their coordination. One of the most classical examples of this is The Eensy Weensy Spider / The Itsy Bitsy Spider. For more fingerplays, come to a regular Baby time at the OPL or check out Jbrary
When your child scribbles on your walls – rejoice! Your child should easily be holding and gripping things by this point.
To continue their development encourage them to:
- Scribble on colouring sheets
- Add sponges to bath time. Let your baby squeeze and soak the sponges and this will help strengthen their hands.
- Fingerpaint, with food (as above) or with regular fingerpaints.
- Use a spoon or fork
- Practice finger plays (For example, open them / shut them)
- Point out signs, numbers and letters (for example, stop signs). Children can learn logos at this age, which helps with symbolic thinking (i.e. Loblaws! Home Depot!)
2 years and beyond
When children scribble and then say what it means, they are demonstrating understanding that what they have written or drawn means something. By the age of two, most children are already storytellers.
To help develop and encourage their interest and skills in writing:
- Have them tell you a story and you write it down
- Have them help you write out a grocery list
- Allow them to play with sidewalk chalk. It’s a great reason to get outside and get a little messy without a big cleanup and all that scribbling is good writing practice.
- Continue to point out signs, numbers and letters. Children can learn logos at this age, which helps with symbolic thinking (i.e. Loblaws! Home Depot!)
- Practice counting songs where they count on their fingers. This will help develop their fine motor skills. 5 superheroes is a great example of this type of song.
- Read them books that will help with their letter recognition for example an ABC book. You can help them trace out the first letter of their name with their finger or with a pencil or crayon.
And, of course, don’t forget to