Play to Write-Write to Read: Week 3

Welcome to Week 3!

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 am so excited that you all enjoyed making the Sensory Gel Writing Pads and the best part being that your little ones loved them! Yay! The Hand Grasp images was also helpful for all of us; good reminder that even though your child doesn’t hold their writing utensils correctly now, they will soon…it’s a progression. This week I am very excited to share some very fun activities that should keep your little one busy all week long! 

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!

This 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.) 


Writing Practice (are combined)! 

(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.) 

Activities: Name Writing (a few different activities to practice with your child to help them learn to write their name)


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. Write their name using various forms of scaffolding

5. Have Fun!

Personalized Tracing Name Printables:

1. Print out Personalized Name Printables. Depending on how you are teaching your child their letters, you have the option of using a printout of their name in all capitals or in upper and lower case letters.

*Note: If the website does not include your child’s name, write your child’s name with a yellow highlighter several times on a white paper use this for your child to trace. 

  • Encourage your child to trace the lines (use this Handwriting Without Tears printout to teach your child the correct letter formation). Hold their hand for the first few times so they get the feel for how the correct movement feels.
  • 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.

Name Writing using ‘Rainbow Words’ Strategy

1. Use the personalized name printables (linked above).

2. Rainbow Words writing strategy is having your child use the colors of the rainbow (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo (blue), violet (purple)) to trace their name repeatedly with the rainbow colors. For younger toddlers/pre-schoolers it would be simpler to allow your child to select a color, trace their name, select another color, repeat. Their attention span will most likely not allow them to complete the activity with all the colors in the correct order. However, older children can be challenged to use 7 colors in the correct order. You may need to give them a picture of the rainbow to help guide them with the color order.

Find the Missing Letter-Name Game 

1. Write your child’s name at the top of a page. Draw a line under each letter.

2. Write your child’s name again underneath the first, leave out the first letter. Draw a line under each letter including the missing letter.

3. Write your child’s name again underneath the others, leave out the first and second letter. Draw a line under each letter including the missing letters.

4. Continue until you reach the line with all missing letters.

5. ‘Challenge’ your child to find the missing letters. This is a great name practice game to play on the go when, or when you need a quick activity to keep your child occupied.

A Few More ‘Learn Your Name’ Related Activities:  

 Teaching Your Child to Spell Their Name Songs!

Templates for 3 Letter Names-7 Letter Names all to familiar tunes.

Wall Letter Decoration for Child’s Room 

Check out this secret to create awesome name letters for your child’s room!

Letter Pad-Name Spelling

Toddler-Approved used letter pad matching to work with her little one on writing his name!

Chalkboard Tracing

The Handley Home shared this great tracing activity last week.

This would be perfect for writing you to write your child’s name, then having them ‘write’ over it with a wet paintbrush.

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  1. Thanks for sharing our letter pad post. I like your printables and the HWT link you shared. One question I have is how old your kids are that are doing the handwriting printables?

    I did a round up of name activities and crafts last week that was very popular. I’m sure this post will be too because learning names are so important. Pinning this now.

    • Kristina- I loved your round-up I actually just saw it today and thought it was ironic because I posted the Play to Write-Write to Read Series post on Teaching Name Writing today also! :) My a currently working on name printables with my 3 year old. We would love for you to link up your nam activities today to share with everyone; I know they will love those great ideas!

  2. Oh my, you continue to speak straight to my early-literacy heart!! :) I have definitely used name-tracing printouts (and I’m of the opinion the kiddos should learn their names the way they will at school — first letter capitalized, the rest lowercase). Rainbow writing is always fun for the kids, as well!! Love this resource of yours, I will continue to share it with my teacher buds. :)

    • Mary Catherine- You are so sweet! I am so glad you enjoy the series and thank you for sharing it! I agree that it is important to teach your child how to write using both upper and lower case as they will in school!

  3. Working on pencil holding and name writing this week!
    and I have to say this series is great for me- you remind me to focus on one of my middle kiddos! I always need that! :)

    • Emily! I love that this series is helping you with your middle child. That makes me smile that you are getting this time to work with him! Keep making it fun; what a great bonding time! Yay! This made my day! :)

  4. This is great! I just started working with my three year old on this. Thanks so much for sharing at Mom On Timeout!

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