If I ask Sophie to practice handwriting, she doesn't want to. But if I invite her to play a game, she jumps at the chance of beating me!
We played this game this morning in our pyjamas before we even went downstairs! We started with traditional noughts and crosses as a warm-up. It is a great way to practice the pre-writing shapes that children need to be able to make before they can form the letters correctly.
Drawing the noughts or crosses, and the line through them when you win, uses six of the nine pre-writing shapes.
The nine shapes increase in difficulty and the image below shows the developmental sequence. You can see that the circle is easier to draw than the cross so children could draw the noughts if they are not quite ready to draw crosses yet. You might find that your child draws a + rather than x. The x is one of the last shapes that children master. If your child finds it tricky, try some activities that encourage them to cross their mid-line (an invisible line down the centre of their body) e.g. in a sand pit get them to hold the spade in one hand, place the bucket on the opposite side of their body and encourage them to reach across to fill it.
If your child is at the early stages of mark-making and not yet ready to write letters, noughts and crosses is a great game to play on a large scale so that they can make big shapes. You could write on the pavement with chalk or use water with a paintbrush. If your child is able to make most of the pre-writing shapes confidently then you could use a pen and paper to help get them ready for writing letters.
Handwriting Practice and Letter Reversals
Sophie often reverses the letters b and d when she writes. Instead of focusing on both letters together, I showed her how similar a and d are when we write them. The letter d is formed in the same way as an a but you go up higher before coming back down. I thought if she could link a and d instead of trying to remember the difference between b and d it might help her. She practised writing both letters using the handwriting board from our Phonics Box. She started on the dot then followed the arrows to form the letters.
Then we played noughts and crosses again, but this time we took turns to write a or d. This meant that I was able to model the letters as we played. Each time we played a new game, we swapped letters so she got a chance to practice writing both letters. She also picked her favourite coloured pen which made her more excited about writing. It was a great way to get her to practise her letter formation in a fun way.
The dry wipe board is included in the Phonics Box.