Updated: Jul 19
Is your preschooler struggling with writing? Did you know that drawing can help your child with their writing skills? Learning how to control a pen is the first step towards writing. Tracing objects is a fun way to get kids to practice using a pen in a controlled manner.
My son just turned three and writing is still pretty foreign and uninteresting to him, but he is starting preschool next week and I want him to feel confident holding a marker, drawing and attempting letters. So we've been tracing things.
Tracing an object proposed a real challenge for my son, it was something he had never done before. Typically he likes to go crazy with markers. He's drawn a few rudimentary people, but most often he just likes to scribble and then call it what it looks like. We don't do nearly as much drawing or writing as I did with his big sister because he's just not that into it. Even so, this activity grabbed his interest.
I got a big sheet of white paper, laid a large cucumber on it and asked him if he wanted to trace it. You'll want to pick a fairly large, simple object to start with. If your child has never traced before you will want to show them how to trace an object first. Then have them practice with their finger. You can even run your finger around the object and have them follow along with their finger. Then give them the marker and let them try. Their idea of tracing an object is going to be much more loose than yours, praise them for whatever they do!
After tracing and cutting out the cucumbers I asked my son if he wanted to pick something else to trace. He got very excited and picked his big dump truck. His tracing was very loose, but it didn't bother him!
After tracing the objects you can allow your kids to cut them out. Cutting is a great tool for developing hand eye coordination and fine motor skills. With my daughter I started out with plastic scissors that could only cut paper, but they were frustrating for her because they don't work very well. I now have proper scissors and my kids enjoy cutting a lot more. If you give your kids regular scissors make sure they are blunt tip for safety.
We surprisingly never had a hair cutting incident until last week when my daughter cut her hair. Luckily she only cut a couple inches off the front, so it wasn't noticeable. I vividly remember the first time I cut my hair as a child. I remember looking at it in the mirror thinking, am I supposed to cut it down low or up high (I spent a good five minutes struggling with this question in my head). I went with up high which ended up being the wrong decision and the beginning of bangs for me, but it was a great learning experience. I never tried to cut my own hair again, and my daughter probably won't either. Trusting our kids and letting them experiment and learn from their mistakes will help them in the long run!
This activity will be fun for most kids age 3 and up! After they cut out the objects you could let them glue them down onto a large piece of colored construction paper. Then they could even color in their objects. The possibilities are endless because there are always new objects to trace.
It's so important that kids have a multitude of drawing experiences before they are expected to learn how to write. From just giving them a marker or crayon and letting them experiment to a more structured activity like tracing, drawing will help them get prepared for kindergarten. Tracing objects will improve your preschooler's writing and build their drawing confidence!