By helping to improve motor skills and create interest, you are laying the foundations for your little writer-to-be. Under-fives are generally not ready for formal instruction, so don’t push your child into writing if they are not interested, as you may put them off. Let them see you writing and praise any attempts they make to read and write.
But there are ways you can encourage your child, especially when it comes to motor skills and boosting interest. Here are some ideas:
• A restaurant at home
Plan a dinner together including menus. Write out what each part of the meal is and have your child illustrate it. Read it together with the pictures so they are confident with reading it to the rest of the family at dinnertime, like a waiter.
• Colour it in
By encouraging children to colour in, and demonstrating how to stay within the lines, you can help your child to develop excellent fine motor skills. When they come to write, they will find it easier to keep their letters neat.
• Making books – Trip book
Make homemade books about special trips, days and holidays. Collect postcards, brochures and photos to glue inside. Add a box of little finds such as shells and feathers and you have a great story box to use with your child. This also gives you an opportunity to show your child that writing can be used to record personal memories and ideas.
• Here is my body
Take photos of your child and label all their body parts.
• I can feel this
Make a textures book. Choose a variety of textures such as sandpaper, material, bubble wrap, corrugated card, shiny paper or a plastic bag. Cut out a piece for each page and write words under it to describe how that particular piece feels.