Play to Write-Write to Read: Week 2

Welcome to Week 2!

If you are joining us for the first time, I encourage you to first read Play to Write-Write to Read: Week 1. Then, be sure to come back and join us for this week’s play group activities!

Welcome back! I have heard so many great responses from all you hard-working moms out there who really enjoyed the play time last week! If you haven’t already, I encourage you to revisit last week’s post to see a couple great link ups where other mom’s shared some of their families favorite writing activities. 

Just a reminder those of you who are joining our Play Group each week, you are asked to please do 2 things:

1. Comment on how these activities worked or didn’t work with your child. Feel free to reply to one another to encourage and offer your advice as well! This will also be great to hold us all accountable to one another to actually follow through… don’t we all need a little of that!? :)

2. Share: Bloggers-you can link up a writing activity you’ve done with your child in the past to share with everyone. You are totally welcome to reteach the same strategies on your blogs and then link up those posts the following week (please do be sure to link back). Non-Bloggers & Bloggers we encourage you to teach/share these activities with another mom friend. Wouldn’t it be fabulous if more and more parents began to learn Best Practices for writing  to ‘play’ with their kids; these types of activities are not just for teachers! Let’s empower each other by sharing!

Before we begin, I have to share a quick helpful guide to Hand Grasps for Toddler-Preschoolers!

Thanks to Jess from Structured Play for sharing this awesome guide on her post last week!

The FUNdamentals

 (The FUNdamentals section focuses on guiding your toddler/preschooler through the basics of developing the fine motor and gross motor skills needed for the physical act of writing, but doing so with ‘fun’ activity.) 

Activity 1: Tracing Lines {FREE printables} (If your child can successful complete the Line Mazes shared last week, this is a great next step!)


1. Strengthen fine motor skills

2. Improve visual perception skills (specifically left to right eye movement)

3. Teach child how to correctly hold a marker/crayon

4. Have Fun!

Tracing Lines Directions:

1. Provide Tracing Line Printables or draw some of your own on a piece of paper.

2. Encourage your child to trace the lines (always left to right). Hold their hand for the first few times so they get the feel for how the correct movement feels.

3. Then, challenge them to try tracing the lines on their own! Encourage them to continually try to do better (staying on the line) each time.

*Lakeshore Learning has a great set of 2 whiteboard book for beginning writers called a Getting Ready to Print Practice Books, many different types of traceable lines!  Big Brother loves these and enjoys taking them with us to practice in the car or use while I am cooking dinner!

FREE Tracing Line Printables! 

(Slide these pages into plastic sheet protectors for multiple uses!)

Writing Practice

(The Writing Practice section focuses on a new ‘Best Practice’ Writing Strategy each week. A ‘Best Practice’ writing strategy is a technique or methodology that, through experience and research, has proven to reliably lead to creating strong writers.) 

Writing Practice 1: Make Your Own Writing Sensory Gel Pad


1. Learn to write/trace letters, numbers, shapes, etc.

2. Demonstrate that spoken words can be written words

3. Improve visual perception skills (specifically left to right eye movement)

4. Practice basic motions of forming letters, shapes, numbers, etc.

5. Have fun and connect with your child.

Make Your Own Writing Sensory Gel Pad Directions

Materials Needed 

  • Large (gallon sized) Ziploc Bag
  • Large container of hair gel ($1 at local dollar stores)
  • Food Coloring
  • Glitter (optional)
  • Duct Tape
1. Combine the hair gel, food coloring, glitter in the Ziploc bag.
2. Gently press all of the extra air out of the bag, then close the bag.
3. Lay the bag down, and carefully press the gel away from the edges of the bag toward the center. Use large pieces of duct tape to reinforce the edges and create a border around the bag.
Activities for your Sensory Gel Pad:
  • Place a large letter, number, or shape under the gel pad on a table. Encourage your child to trace the letter. When they are ready, remove the paper under the bag and have them try forming the letter on their own.
  • Place a paper with their name in large print under the bag. Encourage them to trace their name. When they are ready, remove the paper under the bag and have them try to write their name on their own.
  • Play Tic-Tac-Toe; this gives your child extra practice on forming their shapes and curved lines.
  • Place some of the Tracing Line pages under the gel pad and encourage your child to practice tracing them.

Click Here to Grab the Code! 


  1. I LOVE this post!!!!!!! I totally need this right now—thank you:)


  2. Incorporating sensory play with writing is fun for the kiddos, isn’t it? I must admit, I get a kick of doing so with my son and my students! Maybe it’s because of the glitter involved? :) This activity has worked well for me in the past, although I’ve had the bags get punctured once or twice (but I just add duct tape over the puncture). Thanks, again, for hosting this wonderful series. I’m going to pass your blog along to my teacher buds!

  3. Pinned this – congrats on being featured on Whimsy Wednesdays over at Jenny’s blog today! I was too – so fun!

  4. I love this post! Thank you for showing the stages of gripping a pencil!

  5. This looks so much fun! I’m excited to try it! Sorry I am a week behind. I appreciated the stages of pencil grip as well. I was wondering if you have any fun ways for me to encourage my son to hold his pencil correctly. He is 4 years and almost 5 months old and he still holds his pencils/crayons more like a 2-3 year old. I really want him to start holding it correctly but every time I try to say, “hey, can Mommy show you how to hold your pencil?” he gets really defensive and won’t let me help him. He really wants to keep holding the way he always has. I don’t want it to be a battle but I also don’t want him to keep practicing the wrong way b/c I know he will have to correct it at some point…any tips?? thanks! :)

    • Michelle- So fun that you are joining us; don’t worry about being behind…take your time! There are really great tools out there to encourage your child to hold his pencil correctly try this: Writing Claw. This is a great “training wheels” type of tool to help get him going. Then slowly begin taking it away on occasion to see if the correct grasp is maintained!
      There are other various grasp tools, but this one is my fav. Just put it on his pencil and then you don’t have to battle, he will just naturally have to hold it correctly!
      Good luck! Keep us posted! :)

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