Thursday, May 3, 2012

Writing, anyone?

This is a post I've been thinking about (and taking pictures for) for a while. While we primarily use our Kumon workbooks for developing writing skills (numbers and alphabet) we utilize many other ideas as well. I found this first idea on Pinterest and thought it was positively inspired. The girls thought it was a great idea too. You write whatever you want them to practice in chalk on the chalkboard and then they use a Q-tip and water to "paint" the letters/numbers.
We have used the rice from our Montessori pouring activity as well as salt and sand in a shoebox for this next writing activity. This medium has worked particularly well for Reagan. When we first tried this activity a year ago I was blown a way by the improvement she would make after tracing a letter once in sand or salt. Being able to find the technique(s) which make the most sense and individualize them to your child's specific needs is obviously another enormous benefit of homeschooling. As a side note, when we do this activity the kids are always allowed to explore and play on their own after we're finished working.
We got a way from this activity some time over the holidays (although the girls have recently been asking to bring it back) but I wanted to share it here again in our writing activities post. Last Fall we established "Chocolate Pudding Fridays." It was a fun and low key way to end the week (although the mess was big enough to effectively keep us from getting much else accomplished the rest of the day). Our munchkins enjoyed writing in the pudding as well as eating it once their work was completed.
We switched up Chocolate Pudding Fridays with Coolwhip Fridays a couple of times. Along with writing, we had fun adding colors to experiment with as well.
This activity has been a little more difficult for the kids to actually write with although they do still enjoy playing with it. You fill a gallon ziplock bag with paint and place it on a light table. The children can then use their fingers to write. The movement of their finger(s) displaces the paint and allows the light to shine through and create the letter.
Grammy gave us white boards to use for writing as well. Both girls thought this was super cool. Sometimes it's just fun to use a different tool even if you're doing the exact same thing!
Because it is what we primarily focus on, I did also want to include pictures of the kids writing in their Kumon books. I just realized I inadvertently captured pictures of their math books vs alphabet/words books but either way I really like these books.
I don't know if writing comes more naturally to Kennedy or if it's the difference in having started her with the Kumon books at such a young age (we began with their mazes books for 2 year olds) but I am frequently impressed with Kennedy's handwriting.
I've been collecting these pictures for this post for a while so I actually took this picture in February, a couple of months after Kennedy turned 3, of her number writing progress. I guess I don't have a wide basis for comparison, but I am again assumming it's at least partially due to the Kumon books we've been using with her, because Kennedy's handwriting is significantly more advanced than Reagan's was at this age. 
Having said that, we've really gotten the writing ball rolling early with Jackson! He's not always interested in participating, and I certainly don't require it at his age, but these are such easy and fun pictures with simple instructions for little guys. It's something I can easily offer him if he wants to join us and he does like being a "big boy."
I've posted this picture before, but I wanted to include it here again because it is such an easy activity and one I hadn't realized the signifigance of before reading about it in the "Well Trained Mind." The book recommends having young children draw counterclockwise circles. Our natural inclination is to draw circles in a clockwise direction but many letters require the use of the counter clockwise motion. Therefore, drawing many counterclockwise circles (in pictures or just simple circles) is a great beginning writing skill. Again this is an easy activity for me to pull out when Jackson is interested in participating in the big girls morning writing session.
I hope this post provides some creative as well as traditional approaches to teaching your little students how to write. Happy writing!


  1. Great ideas. I need to get back to Pintrest again. I really like the first idea, of "painting" over the written letters.

  2. The kids have loved that! I would highly recommend it! Anna :)

  3. Wow... love the letter writing activities! I will have to do this soon. Thanks!