Have you heard of rainbow writing? How about chalk rainbow writing? There are many fine motor and visual motor skills that are used when using rainbow writing as a handwriting practice strategy! Let’s break down what rainbow writing is and how this chalk writing activity is a skill-builder for letter formation. Also check out our handwriting library for more ideas.
Tracing letters with chalk is a handwriting practice strategy that helps to build muscle memory when learning letter formations. You can rainbow write on paper or with different utensils such as crayons, colored pencils, markers, or chalk!
Tracing Letters with Chalk
Tracing letters with chalk is a colorful way to practice letter formation. The strategy builds skills in visual motor and hand eye coordination in order to trace over the lines of a letter.
When you use chalk tracing to practice a letter or a word, the child traces over the letter with each color of the rainbow.
They will end up with 6 or 7 trials in writing over the letter.
Some things to consider with tracing with chalk
Tracing over letters with chalk, crayons, or colored pencils is a powerful strategy when practicing letter formation and the line awareness needed for letter size and line placement.
Read through this resource on tracing sheets to see the pros and cons of tracing with kids.
Some things you’ll want to consider about chalk tracing writing activities:
- Be sure to watch how the student starts the letters. It can be easy to start a poor muscle memory for writing the letters if they start at the wrong starting point or form the letters incorrectly. This creates an incorrect motor plan in the handwriting process.
- Make sure the letters don’t progressively get worse as the student traces over the letters when rainbow writing.
- Some kids tend to make the rainbow letters with colors next to each other like a rainbow rather than tracing on top of each color. Ask the student to make a mixed up rainbow by tracing right on top of each color.
Rainbow Writing with chalk
We did rainbow writing with chalk one day. This was a great way to work on letter formation while outside because there was the added benefit of playing on the ground.
Using chalk to practice letters supports development by adding proprioceptive input through the core, strengthens the shoulder girdle for adding more stability for writing, as well as adding strength and stability to the wrist.
Upper body strength in this way supports distal dexterity and mobility needed for writing.
Chalk Rainbow Writing
This chalk tracing activity was a lot of fun.
We have a big ol’ bucket of chalk that we play with almost everyday. Our sidewalk and driveway have been know to be very colorful at times! We took the chalk to our sidewalk squares one day this week and practiced a little letter formation.
Our sidewalk squares were the perfect area to practice forming letters accurately. I used simple verbal cues to describe the formation of each letter (big line down, little curve around, little line) and we started in the corner of each square as we made the letters.
I made the letter first and Big Sister and Little Guy watched. Then we went to work making our letters very colorful!
Tracing the letters over and over again was a great way to practice accurate formation. Big Sister got into this activity. Little Guy only wanted to make a few letters that are in his name.
When the child is tracing the letters over and over again, they become more efficient at planning out and executing the movements needed to make a letter accurately. This activity is great for a new writer because they are given a confined space to practice a letter, and visual cues (and verbal prompts from mom).
Use the activities and ideas in The Handwriting Book for more ways to work on writing skills.
The Handwriting Book covers everything you need to know about handwriting, guided by development and focused on function. This digital resource is is the ultimate resource for tips, strategies, suggestions, and information to support handwriting development in kids.
The Handwriting Book breaks down the functional skill of handwriting into developmental areas. These include developmental progression of pre-writing strokes, fine motor skills, gross motor development, sensory considerations, and visual perceptual skills. Each section includes strategies and tips to improve these underlying areas.
- Strategies to address letter and number formation and reversals
- Ideas for combining handwriting and play
- Activities to practice handwriting skills at home
- Tips and strategies for the reluctant writer
- Tips to improve pencil grip
- Tips for sizing, spacing, and alignment with overall improved legibility
Colleen Beck, OTR/L has been an occupational therapist since 2000, working in school-based, hand therapy, outpatient peds, EI, and SNF. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. Read her story about going from an OT making $3/hour (after paying for kids’ childcare) to a full-time OT resource creator for millions of readers. Want to collaborate? Send an email to email@example.com.