How to make handwriting activities fun
Often, when parents ask what they can do at home to help their child, a teacher will tell them to focus on handwriting. That’s all well and good, but what exactly does that mean and how on earth can we make it fun? Here are engaging handwriting activities to improve handwriting.
I don’t think any child is going to be particularly inspired by sitting down at a desk, copying the alphabet and working specifically on the lettering of ‘cat’, dog’, ‘house’. Just like everything else in your child’s life, the more enjoyable it is, the more they will get out of it.
Handwriting activities for kids
With handwriting, the trick is to make it part of their lives, as opposed to an allotted handwriting practise session. So here are some practical, fun activities to do just that:
To be able to improve the style and fluency of their handwriting, your child first needs to be able to correctly form each letter of the alphabet. If you are not sure of the exact font your child is using, ask their teacher for a copy, preferably with the starting points and directional flow (the way the pencil should move) illustrated on the letters. You can also check the website for the education department for your state – I know where we are, in Victoria, I can download the ‘Vic Modern cursive’ font from there.
Once you have a copy of the font they use, fill a zip-lock bag with paint, seal it and tape the seal closed. Then lay the bag flat and have your child use their finger to practise forming each of the letters in the paint, through the bag. It’s mess free (provided you seal that thing well!!) and it’s much more fun than copying letters on a sheet. As your child is practising, really focus on the correct starting point and direction. If paint freaks you out a bit, this can be done with a reasonably deep baking tray and some sand.
Ask your child to work with you on the grocery shopping list. You can tell them what you need to buy and ask them to carefully write each item. You might even let them pick a meal for one night and research the ingredients needed. Involve them as much as you can. Maybe surprise them with a treat as the last item on the list!
Does your child have a friend who they don’t see all the time? Or maybe a relative who lives a little further away? (And let’s face it: right now, we’re all a bit isolated from friends and family!) Have them write them a good old-fashioned letter. They can tell their chosen audience all the things they’ve been doing and they can ask questions in the hope that they get a letter back. We all still love getting mail!
Ask your child to write out a wish list of all of the things they’d like to do once the current physical distancing restrictions are lifted.
Have your child create an invitation for a particular person/group of people and event. Address it to the whole family, inviting them to a special Family Movie Night, or to a friend, asking them for a playdate. Or they could create their own invitations for an upcoming birthday party. Whatever the occasion, provide them with paper, pens, stickers and any other craft bits and bobs you have lying around and let them go crazy! The only rule is, the writing has to be their best effort!
Provide your child with some random items (ball, bat, string, cards, dice etc. – whatever you like) and tell them their job is to make up a game using those items. They don’t need to use all of them if they don’t want to. Once they have invented the game, they must write out an instruction card, including the name of the game, the materials needed, the number of players and the rules. Another ‘game’ activity with handwriting possibilities is a Treasure Hunt. Your child can hide handwritten clues around the house. Follow the clues to find the treasure at the end.
Ask your child to write a persuasive letter for something they want. It might be a later bedtime, an increase in pocket money, a particular meal, a family outing, anything. Once they have decided what it is they want (within reason, of course) they need to write a letter (to you, or whoever the appropriate audience is) explaining their request, the reasons for it and the reasons their request should be granted. Most kids love arguing a point, just get them to argue this one on paper!
List of 3
Create a ‘List of 3’ sheet. You can draw up a whole lot of columns with headings at the top, such as: 3 countries I want to visit, 3 foods I love, 3 food I hate, 3 books I would recommend to someone else, 3 boys’ names starting with ‘L’, 3 girls’ names staring with ‘E’, 3 movies that make me laugh – the possibilities are endless! Once your sheet is ready to go, ask your child to fill in their answers. You could then pass the sheet around (or create more copies) for all the family members and then compare information. This one is loads of fun as it allows your child to express their own interests and it allows the whole family to get involved.
Ask your child to nominate their favourite song/poem and then find them a copy of the lyrics. Their job is then to simply write those lyrics out in the best handwriting. Maybe if they try their very best you could offer to download the song or the video clip for them (just first make sure it’s age appropriate!).
Click here for a printable page of dotted thirds paper, to help you get started: Dotted thirds.
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