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Pre-Writers Club: Penguin Ice Skating

This is a fun way to explore and make the pre-writing shapes which children need to be able to draw in order to form letters and numbers.

What you need:

  • The plastic insert from biscuits/chocolates/crackers or an ice cube tray.

  • A freezer!

  • Toy figures

  • A tray

  • Milk carton

  • Scissors

I set up a penguin ice skating activity but you could use any toys or small figures. I froze a shallow layer of water in the plastic insert from some crackers. When it had frozen I added more cold water and a small plastic penguin in each space. I added two penguins in some of the spaces so they could skate or toboggan together! Then I put it back in the freezer until the water was completely frozen.

We put some snowflake sequins and glitter into a tray and cut a milk bottle in half to create a slide. Then we added the penguins.

Benji enjoyed pushing them down the slide. We also twisted the penguins and let go, like a toy spinner, and pretended they were ice skating. We took it in turns to make the penguins perform ice skating shows.

We also had skating races. We said ready, steady, go then pushed our penguins to see which one would glide to the other side of the tray the quickest.

Then we set up obstacle courses using the snowflakes and pom poms. We had to make the penguins follow the pattern. I recreated the pre-writing shapes so that Benji was practising drawing vertical and horizontal lines and circles.

I placed pom poms at the edges to form a + and modelled how to make the penguin skate from one to another. We also tried to skate around the entire ice skating rink to form a square.

As the ice started to melt, Benji also enjoyed trying to break the penguins out.

We had so much fun that the penguins have gone straight back into the freezer so we can play again!


Pre-writing Shapes - Pre-writing shapes are a key component of the pre-writing skills. Children need to be able to form these strokes as a precursor to writing letters and numbers. You can support your child by modelling how to draw the shapes using a top-to-bottom and left-to-right approach, because this is how letters are typically formed.


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