Preschool Centers to Develop Pre-Writing Skills

The preschool classroom is a bustling place of activity, play, learning, and development.  All of these areas are happening at once, driven by the focus and intention of the preschool teacher.  I’ve had readers ask how to incorporate more developmental areas into group activities for the preschool aged child and how to incorporate development of pre-writing skills into a small group setting. Our resource on fine motor activities for preschoolers is a great place to start with activity ideas and skill development during the preschool age.
Be sure to check out our All About Me preschool activities for more ideas.
Related, are these friendship activities for preschoolers as a tool to support development in the preschool years.

The activities below are ones that can be used in preschool centers or in small groups of children who are working on development of fine motor, visual perceptual motor skills needed for pre-writing and other tasks needed in a classroom setting. Considering all of the pre-writing skills that are developed during the preschool years, these centers can harness the excitement and play of creative play to promote development of skills needed throughout the child’s life.

The skills developed in the preschool setting has a lot to do with visual perceptual skills. You’ll find easy and fun ways to work on visual perceptual skills through play here. 
Use these preschool center ideas to help kids develop pre-writing skills and other developmental skills like visual motor and fine motor skills.

Preschool Centers and Development

Centers in the classroom are a common thing.  A center is a small group of children that work together on one area for a short period of time.  While in this small group, the children can work on a single area before moving on to a different center within the classroom.  You may see centers geared toward a single learning concept or area or you may see a center that combines motor involvement with learning.

In the preschool setting, centers include tactile play, play dough, water tables, blocks, imagination play, art creation, finger paints, sensory play, name writing, manipulatives, etc.

The Occupational Therapist can contribute information related to development and specific needs of the classroom when collaborating with the preschool teacher, focusing on fostering skill development through play and use of various media and materials within the centers.

Try setting up center activities on the floor to develop skills like crossing midline, core stability and strength, proprioceptive input, motor planning, arch development of the hands, shoulder stability, and more.

Skills to address in preschool centers:

Fine motor development
Gross motor development
Pincer grasp
Bilateral coordination
Crossing midline
Pre-writing skills
Eye-hand coordination
Manual coordination
Hand strength
Body coordination
Object manipulation
Grasp development

Fine Motor Preschool Center 

Fill a sensory table with different lengths of crepe paper for cutting
Squeeze water from small pieces of sponges into a water table
Spread out various lengths of cardstock and thin cardboard (open cereal boxes cut into strips)
Stringing beads
Set up Quiet Bins
Folding paper
Manipulating tape and envelopes
Thread recycled spools
Pinch clothespins onto paper stips
Poke pipe cleaners into a large cardboard box
Color match paper clips
Manipulate and build with rubber bands and blocks
Bead feathers

Writing Preschool Center

Copying shapes
Pre-writing lines with leaves
Copying letters
Stamping letters in play dough
Tracing shapes
Writing in wet clay
Drawing on carpet squares
Painting water on a chalkboard
Pencil control sheets

Visual Perception Preschool Center

Copying block shapes
Pegboard designs
I Spy activities
Geoboard designs
Memory games
Copy shapes with colored sticks
Color match craft sticks

Here is more information about strategies to address visual perceptual skills and handwriting.

Use these preschool center ideas to help kids develop pre-writing skills and other developmental skills like visual motor and fine motor skills.

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