Motivating Handwriting Activities for Reluctant Writers

 Practice writing?  “But Mom! I don’t like to write!”  Sound familiar?  Many kids (Many, many!) just aren’t into practicing their handwriting at home.  School and homeschooling can be exhausting for kids when they have to do certain topics that they just aren’t interested in.  And handwriting is often one of those topics.  Hopefully, you’ll find some motivating handwriting activities in today’s post that will help your reluctant writer pick up that pencil and start writing!

Functional and meaningful handwriting activities for reluctant writers.  These are motivating activities for kids who don't like to practice handwriting.

Fun and Creative Handwriting Practice Ideas (for kids of all ages!)

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This post is part of our 31 Days of OT Using Free or Inexpensive materials.  These ideas are ones that all involve only paper and pencil.  You can throw in the occasional fun colored ink pen for extra smiles from your reluctant writer, but we wanted to share ideas to work on functional skills like handwriting using mainly items you can find around the home.  

Try a few of these fun ideas with your student or child:

  • Write Jokes. Look up jokes in a joke book and write them on index cards.  Send them to a friend in the mail, drop one in a neighbors mailbox (if you know the neighbor and first let them know to expect something in the mail!) or give one to teachers.  Find a buddy who would be interested in exchanging jokes.
  • Write letters to favorite celebrities.  Use those interests and look up addresses to your child’s favorite artist, musician, or sports hero.  Kids can compose a letter and address the envelope.
  • Exchange letters with a pen pal.  Kids can exchange letters with friends and relatives in other states or towns.  Getting mail addressed to themselves is very rewarding for a child.
  • Pass notes.  Write short notes to members of the family.  Leave them in places where they will be found, like on bedroom dressers or in shoes.  Notes might be simple things like, “Don’t forget about soccer practice today.” or fun things like, “Do you want to play checkers?”
  • Plan a scavenger hunt.  Write out hints on slips of paper.  The child can plan the steps and hide notes for family members or friends.
  • Practice letter formation during fun games like Tic Tac Toe.  Instead of x’s and o’s, write printed or cursive letters in the squares.
  • Write your own comic books.  Draw large rectangles on a page for a comic story. Students can draw pictures and write comic bubbles for handwriting practice.
  • Make a creative journal full of creative handwriting ideas.  We did ours with a cursive handwriting, but you could use these ideas for printed handwriting, too.
  • Tape paper to a window and write on the paper.
  • Location, location, location! Change spaces for something fun and different: go to the library and try the tables there.  Write outside with a clipboard.  Where can you go to write that is new and fun?
  • Change positions.  Sit on the floor and write on the chair seat.  Lay on couch cushions and write on the floor on a clipboard. 
  • Take brain breaks.  Every 3-4 minutes, take a mini-break for jumping jacks or wall push-ups.
  • Write to classical music.

Functional and meaningful handwriting activities for reluctant writers.  These are motivating activities for kids who don't like to practice handwriting.

Functional and Meaningful Handwriting Activities for Kids

Often times, kids balk at having to do repetitive writing.  I mean, would you want to write a word or sentence 10 times in a row?  Sometimes a functional activity that is meaningful and helpful can motivate a child to want to pick up a pencil.  Try some of these functional handwriting tasks:
  • Write.
  • out the family grocery list.  
  • Write your family’s return address on bills.
  • Write out a family calendar with sports schedules, outings, and family night events.
  • Write out the phone messages from an answering machine.  
  • Write out the day’s schedule on a weekend day.
  • Write out favorite television shows.  Add the day, and time of each show.
  • Write out a holiday or birthday gift wish list.
  • Write out a list of items to pack for vacation.  Include little squares next to each item to check off as items are packed.
Just for fun ideas (not all with a pencil, but just as inexpensive!)
Practice forming letters and words in shaving cream.

Looking for more ways to help your reluctant writer get more “into” writing?  These toys, tools, and games will inspire and encourage your child to want to pick up the writing tool and play.  The best thing is, they won’t even realize they are practicing handwriting and doing “work”!  While these tools and toys are not free, they are ideas to try.  If you have family asking for gift ideas, you might want to pass a few of these ideas along.  Here’s to writing and loving it!

Toys and game ideas for kids who are reluctant writers, and "hate" handwriting.

Kids love a dry erase board and this Crayola Dry Erase Activity Center
will be fun for them to practice letter formation and writing. 

 The Crayola Dry-Erase Activity Center Zany Play
can be a fun way to practice individual letter formation. Ask your child to practice letters in each box. Kids can also work on starting/stopping the writing tool on the dots, which is great pencil control practice and needed for handwriting legibility. 

 Writing on this Crayola See Thru Light Designer
is bright and colorful and a great way to really work on letters while your child is captivated by the light animations and color effects. 

 For students who love to draw (or have a slight interest in drawing), this Crayola Light Designer
will be a huge hit. Even though they will not be writing letters and words, kids can draw with the writing tool to create 3D images of their drawings. 
 This is a motivating tool for reluctant writers, and beneficial for pencil control and dexterity, helpful in handwriting. 

 For kids who say “I can’t think of anything to write!” (sound familiar?) This creative storytelling game, Rory’s Story Cubes
, will be a fun way to inspire. Play the game and write out stories as a family. This sounds like a great Family Night activity! 

 Make writing fun with Washable Window Chalk Markers
by writing on windows, glass, and mirrors.

Completing mazes are a great way to practice pencil control, line awareness in handwriting. 

 Try a maze book like this Extreme Mazes with your reluctant writer. 

Mad Libs Game
is a great way to practice handwriting on lines and in smaller spaces. For kids who can not write as small as needed to write in the book, use a piece of paper for filling in the answers. 

 The handwriting practice that kids get with a Spirograph
is big: Pen control, bilateral hand coordination, and proprioceptive feedback. Creating these fun art pieces are motivating and fun!

I hope these ideas will help your reluctant writer.  Be sure to follow our Handwriting Pinterest Board for more handwriting ideas: