How to Write Cursive a

If you are teaching kids to write in cursive handwriting, these tips on how to write cursive a will help with a starter letter that supports the development of cursive writing skills. Writing letter a in cursive might seem like a good place to start when teaching cursive writing (after all, it’s the beginning of the alphabet!), but actually, you’ll want to start developmentally by teaching cursive letters in a sequential order.

How to Write Cursive a

Teaching cursive handwriting is a challenge for many parents and teachers.  Taking it step-by-step is key. Here, you will find strategies for how to write cursive letter a. Many times, there is not a specific curriculum that schools use and teachers need to scramble for resources and THEN fit handwriting time into an already jam packed day.

That’s why here at The OT Toolbox, you will find cursive writing tools that can be easily added into a school day. So, if you are wondering how to teach cursive writing, then you are in luck, because we have specific tips and tricks to teach cursive letters a-z.  

Here you will find tricks and tips to write cursive a…in fun ways!

Teach kids how to write cursive a with these cursive writing activities, tips and tricks that will stick.  

 

Lowercase cursive letter a is one of the wave letters.  The letters c, a, d, g, q, and o make up these letters that contain similar letter strokes. That’s why when children are taught to write in cursive, these letters are typically grouped together. We talked about how cursive letters are related and grouped into cursive letter families.

Teaching cursive letters in groups helps with letter formation, including the motor plan to form similar letters. When kids can practice cursive with a sensory approach to writing letters, they engage multiple senses along with the motor movements to form each letter. Grouping them into like letters makes the learning easier.

a in Cursive…where to start?

Start by reviewing how to form cursive c.

Start by reviewing and practicing cursive letter c. Cursive letter c (and cursive a) is a wave letter. Starting with some pencil strokes and multi-sensory practice of the wave formation is a good place to begin. Try some multi-sensory approaches to build motor planning for forming cursive a. 

Hold a small crafting pom pom or cotton ball in the thumb, pointer finger, and middle finger. This positions the hand into a tripod grasp and “wakes up” the muscles for writing.

Holding the cotton ball, students can use whole arm motions to “draw” an imaginary wave in the air. Encourage them to be sure to re-trace the wave so it has a big curved portion at the top or crest of the wave. Here is more information on teaching wave letters. 

By re-tracing that wave back down to the bottom, they can see the letter “c” or the beginning part of a letter a forming.

One tip to get that line really formed with re-trace is to tell kids that they want the wave to be great for surfing under. If the wave is fat at the bottom, it’s not a surfing wave. We want to see a wave that is ready to fall over and crash so a surfer can surf right along the inside of the wave.

Making a string of cursive c’s or a wave with several waves together is a good exercise.

These handwriting tips can help teach kids how to write cursive a

 

 

Next, turn cursive c into a cursive a.

Once that curved c is reviewed, and the students are tracing back over their wave lines so the curve looks like a single line, it’s time to turn lowercase c into lowercase a. 

Teach cursive a by telling students to form a cursive c that looks like a wave ready to crash over.

Their pencil should trace back over the wave line and move along the baseline. The pencil should move straight up to the top of the wave and pause where the wave is just about to tip over.

Next, the pencil should trace strait back down to the bottom line of the paper. Then, the pencil can move along the baseline to connect to the next letter. Here are tips to teach cursive letter connections.

Here are those cursive writing directions listed out:

  1. Write a cursive c with the top of the wave ready to crash.
  2. Move the pencil along the baseline and up to touch the tip of the wave. 
  3. Pull the pencil strait down to the baseline.
  4. Curve away to connect.

Poor Formation of cursive a?

What happens when the cursive a (or other writing in cursive) falls flat? There can be some troubleshooting to do when it comes to writing in cursive. Here are some problems you might see whth letter a.

  • The lines curving up to the top of the lowercase a aren’t touching- Remind the student to trace back over the curve of their magic c. Review how to make the curve of a letter c.
  • The “wave” looks to wide- A gaping wave can make the letter a look sloppy. Teach students to trace back over the curve of the along the same line. Try using rainbow writing for this method.
  • The up line to touch the top of the a is slanted. The a looks

Read here to find more tips to teach each cursive letter.

Practice cursive a with multi-sensory approaches to teaching letters

  • Use the pom pom/cotton ball large motor method described above
  • Practice the wave curves (focus on those thin, ready to break waves!) on the palm of the hand, by “writing” with the pointer finger
  • Rainbow write with crayons, markers, or chalk
  • Paint water onto construction paper
  • Try some of the sensory writing strategies described in this free creative cursive writing journal 
How to teach cursive letter a.
The Handwriting Book is a comprehensive resource created by experienced pediatric OTs and PTs.

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

Click here to grab your copy of The Handwriting Book today.

Colleen Beck, OTR/L is an occupational therapist with 20+ years experience, graduating from the University of Pittsburgh in 2000. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. As the creator, author, and owner of the website and its social media channels, Colleen strives to empower those serving kids of all levels and needs. Want to collaborate? Send an email to contact@theottoolbox.com.

Cursive Writing Alphabet and Easy Order to Teach Cursive Letters

cursive letter order

In this post: Cursive writing order to teach letters of the alphabet, including Handwriting Without tears letter order for teaching cursive. The order that kids should learn the cursive alphabet, including print letter patterns that are directly transferable to cursive alphabet letters.

Cursive Writing Order




Learning to write the alphabet in cursive, writing one’s name in cursive, and writing words in cursive is something that many kids want to do around the second grade.  Cursive seems like a “grown up” style of communication that kids see adults or older students using and they try to make swoopy writing on their own.  Some children can be very motivated to learn to write the alphabet in cursive and use it in their written work.



Writing cursive letters in a group of similar pencil strokes is helpful for carryover of pencil control practice and letter formation. Here is more information on teaching groups of similar cursive letters together in a chunk, or cursive letter families.


Once kids have a start on cursive letter formation, they can practice in creative ways like on the window.


Other children who may not be exposed to cursive written work might have their first exposure to cursive in the classroom.  Still other students might be in a public or private classroom where cursive handwriting has been dropped from the curriculum.  These kids may need extra practice at home or might need to learn cursive handwriting from the very beginning.


But where to start when teaching kids (or adults!) the cursive writing alphabet and how to form words in cursive?  Read on for tips and strategies to get started on learning cursive letters.


Cursive writing alphabet and how to teach kids cursive handwriting with correct cursive letter order.


Cursive Writing Alphabet and Letter Order



We’ve touched on cursive handwriting in previous posts, include a small piece about starting to teach cursive letters.  This strategy will outline the alphabet and the letter order to make learning cursive more easy, based on learning letters in a developmental and progressive order.


RELATED READ: Practice letters in a Cursive Writing Journal.


There are print letter patterns that are directly transferable to cursive letters.


These are cursive letters that are formed similarly to their printed letter counterparts. The muscle movements of the hands that are used to form some printed letters are directly related to the same letters.  For this reason, it’s a good idea to start with these letters when learning the cursive writing alphabet.


The printed letter patterns that make up some letters will transfer directly to cursive, and when formed with a few subskills, cursive letter formation will easily follow (in most cases):

  • Left-to-right strokes
  • Good starting points
  • Direction of movement
  • Consistent stopping points
  • Control of downstrokes
  • Smooth rhythm
Given the subskills noted above, cursive letter formation will lend to more legible letter formation.  Often times, learning correct letter formation and motor practice will help with legibility and ease of cursive writing into a viable form of written communication.

 

When teaching the cursive alphabet, where to begin?

 

These letters have print patterns that are directly transferable to their cursive letters:

 
The following letters transfer directly to their cursive letter forms: c, a, d, g, o, q, i, t, u, j, e, l, f, h, p, n, and m.
 
Knowing that there are letters that use similar motor plans as a starting point, it is recommended to follow an order when teaching lowercase cursive letters:
 
c, a, d, g, q
i, t, p, u, w, j
e, l, f, h
k, r, s
b, o, v
m, n, y, x, z
 
Upper case cursive letters should be presented in a specific order as well:
A, C, O, U, V, W, X, Y, Z, P, R, B, H, K, N, M, I, J, E, L, I, J, Q


This letter order uses a combination of research-based strategies and focuses on movement based patterns as well as common letter formations, i.e. the way the letters connect to form words.
 
This upper case cursive letter order (or cursive capital letters) order teaches upper case letters that are similar to lower case letters first.  Always teach lower case cursive letters before upper case letters.
 
 
Cursive writing alphabet and how to teach kids cursive handwriting with correct cursive letter order.
Affiliate links are included below.
 
 

WOrk on Cursive Letter Order with these Ideas:

Here, you’ll find More creative ways to work on learning cursive writing:

Looking for more information on how to teach cursive writing? You’ll love our 31 day series on How to Teach Cursive Writing.  

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 is an occupational therapist with 20+ years experience, graduating from the University of Pittsburgh in 2000. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. As the creator, author, and owner of the website and its social media channels, Colleen strives to empower those serving kids of all levels and needs. Want to collaborate? Send an email to contact@theottoolbox.com.

Clay Letters

clay alphabet

These clay letters are a fine motor activity we made years ago, but we still use them today in multisensory learning activities. In fact, the clay alphabet is such a great tool for sight word and spelling word manipulatives. This week, we used two of my top Occupational Therapy recommendations in a combined fine motor power activity…to make stamped letters for learning!

We used clay and alphabet stamps to make our own clay letters for hands-on learning, including practicing spelling words, sight words, letter identification, and letter order.  This was the perfect learning tool for my second grader, kindergartner, and preschooler!

Make clay letters with alphabet stamps and use them in spelling words, decodable reading, word building, letter identification, and alphabetical order activities for multi- age learning ideas and hands-on learning in this fine motor work learning and play idea for kids.
 
 

Clay Letters for multisensory learning


As an Occupational Therapist, I often times recommended using clay as a therapeutic tool.  It’s resistive and provides proprioceptive feedback while working on hand strength.  Combined with letter stamps, we were able to make our own movable and colorful letters.  

 

Pressing the alphabet stamps into the clay is a great fine motor exercise and one that strengthens the hands, promoting a functional pencil grasp, separation of the sides of the hand, and intrinsic hand strength.

Make clay letters with alphabet stamps and use them in spelling words, decodable reading, word building, letter identification, and alphabetical order activities for multi- age learning ideas and hands-on learning in this fine motor work learning and play idea for kids.
 

Fine Motor Work Activity

Make clay letters with alphabet stamps and use them in spelling words, decodable reading, word building, letter identification, and alphabetical order activities for multi- age learning ideas and hands-on learning in this fine motor work learning and play idea for kids.
 

How to Make Clay Letters

This post contains affiliate links.

You’ll need to start with alphabet stamps for pressing into the clay, and some colorful clay. You’ll want to get the type of clay that quick dries.

We used our Alphabet Stamp Set to press lower case letters into small, rolled balls of modeling clay. I love the bright colors of THIS brand.

To make he clay letters, kids are really strengthening the hands.

First, ask your child to first pull off small pieces of clay from the long rolls.  Roll the clay into small balls and gently press them into disks.  

Then, have your child find the letters of the alphabet in alphabetical order.  Using the Melissa and Doug Alphabet Stamp Set was a great way to further our fine motor work.  The size and shape of the letter stamps in this set are perfect for working on intrinsic muscle strength and tripod grasp.  

Pressing the stamps into the clay is a nice way to address precision.  

Press too hard, and the clay disk is too thin.  

Press to lightly, and the letter’s impression is not deep enough in the clay.  This precision of grasp requires proprioceptive awareness.

Make clay letters with alphabet stamps and use them in spelling words, decodable reading, word building, letter identification, and alphabetical order activities for multi- age learning ideas and hands-on learning in this fine motor work learning and play idea for kids.
 

The brand of clay that we used does not harden.  This makes a nice activity for kids, but if you want to keep your letters, use a modeling clay that does dry out.

Make clay letters with alphabet stamps and use them in spelling words, decodable reading, word building, letter identification, and alphabetical order activities for multi- age learning ideas and hands-on learning in this fine motor work learning and play idea for kids.
 

Learning Activities with Clay Letters

We used our clay letters in a bunch of different activities. Try some of these hands-on letter activities:

  • Practice spelling words.
  • Practice spelling sight words.
  • Arrange letters on the table.  Ask kids to visually scan for letters to find in alphabetical order.
  • Practice letter identification.
  • Copy the letters to work on letter formation.
  • Arrange the letters on a table.  Pull out a letter and ask your child to name a word that starts with that letter.  Ask them to write the words to practice handwriting.
  • Practice decodable reading and word building with the clay letters.
 
 




Make clay letters with alphabet stamps and use them in spelling words, decodable reading, word building, letter identification, and alphabetical order activities for multi- age learning ideas and hands-on learning in this fine motor work learning and play idea for kids.

More Letter Fine Motor Activities

You’ll love the fine motor activities in our Letters Fine Motor Kit. The printable kit is loaded with letter activities that build fine motor skills. You can grab it and all of the other themed fine motor kits below, to build skills through play.

Use these Fine Motor Kits for hands-on activity kits to develop fine motor skills, strength, dexterity, and manipulation. Kids LOVE these fine motor kits for the motivating activities. Therapists love them because it’s fresh, fun ways to work on pinch, grip, manipulation skills, and much more. Try some of these themed therapy kits:

Colleen Beck, OTR/L is an occupational therapist with 20+ years experience, graduating from the University of Pittsburgh in 2000. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. As the creator, author, and owner of the website and its social media channels, Colleen strives to empower those serving kids of all levels and needs. Want to collaborate? Send an email to contact@theottoolbox.com.

Preschool Pre-Writing Skills

pre-writing skills

This pre-writing skills resource is a resource for anyone working with preschoolers. The fact is that in the preschool years, developmentally, preschoolers should not be writing. Rather, pre-writing is the area of focus. A huge topic of discussion for pediatric occupational therapy professionals is the fact that preschool pre-writing skills are developed rather than introducing handwriting at this young age. Developmentally, there is a lot of progression in the preschool years and pre-writing skills are just one of the many areas. Refer to more information on preschool activities for other developmentally appropriate activities.

pre writing skills needed before preschoolers can write with a pencil.

Pre writing Skills in Preschool

Many times, parents of very young children don’t think about handwriting skills. It’s not typical to think about holding a pencil, writing words and sentences, and copying letters when children are just mastering building with blocks, learning to pull on socks, and creating finger paint masterpieces.  

But the truth is, when young preschoolers are playing, they are building the very important precursors to handwriting.  

The skills needed for managing a pencil, copying letter forms, and managing pencil control when copying lists and paragraphs into a space on a page are initiated in the early childhood years.  Below, you’ll find more about preschool pre-writing skills and the components of pre-writing skills that are developed through play.

Pre-writing skills development begins with preschool aged children through play.

What are Pre-Writing Skills?

Preschool is prime time to develop the underlying skills needed for handwriting. So often, the older, school-aged kids that are struggling with handwriting are missing the underlying areas that make up the skills of handwriting.


First, it’s important to recognize that handwriting is made up of so many areas. Handwriting is much more than holding a pencil (pencil grasp) and forming letters and numbers!  

There are many pre-writing skills that transfer to accuracy in written work. These areas need to be developed and refined before handwriting can be successful. These skills are pre-requisites to even holding a pencil to form shapes and then letters.

Consider the following skill areas that relate to handwriting: 

  1. Sensory Motor Pre-writing skills
  2. Fine motor pre-writing skills
  3. Visual-motor pre-writing skills 

Let’s go into each area separately.

Sensory-Motor Pre-Writing Skills- The sensory motor component is closely related. Consider the pyramid of learning and the developmental base that enables refinement in higher levels of development. The closely related areas of sensory and motor skills are pre-requisites for pre-writing before copying lines and shapes is even possible.

  • Gross motor development
  • Motor planning
  • Initial core control and core body strength
  • Bilateral arm and hand use
  • Crossing midline
  • Imitation of movements
  • Ability to learn novel motor movements
  • Tactile sensory awareness
  • Discrimination of sensation
  •  

Fine Motor Pre-Writing Skills- From holding the pencil to moving and controlling the pencil when writing letter forms, handwriting requires a variety of motor movements that all must work together.

These fine motor pre writing areas of development include:

  • Hand dominance
  • Pinch precision (using a tip to tip grasp)
  • Finger opposition
  • Finger isolation
  • Separation of the sides of the hand
  • Hand strength (endurance in play)
  • Fine motor development
  • Separation of the two sides of the hand, including:                    
    • Development and control of the skilled side of the hand                  
    • Development and control of the strength side of the hand stable side of the hand
  • Thumb Isolation and use as a stability point
  • Thumb dexterity and strength
  • Finger Isolation
  • Development of a dominant hand and an assisting hand
  • Manipulation of objects and dexterity of the hand with objects
  • Grasp strength

Note that preschool can begin as early as 2 years old with some preschool classes. There is a big difference in development from the 2-5 year range in all areas, including fine motor development. A young 2 year old will developmentally have more primitive fine motor skills than a 5 year old child.

Young preschoolers will develop precision and refinement of fine motor skills through play.

Visual Processing Pre-Writing Skills- Additionally, there are the eyes.  What is seen and recognized needs to be coordinated with the hand.  Visual processing has a huge component in written work!

During the preschool years, visual processing skills are developed through play. These components include:

Cognitive Pre-Writing Skills- In addition to the motor components are the cognitive skills. These include the ability to follow directions, pay attention, and focus. The cognitive areas are closely related to the motor skill prerequisites.

  • Direction following
  • Attention and focus
  • Directional concepts
  • Memory
  • Sequencing
  • Awareness of left-right concepts in books and written work

When Preschoolers are asked to write letters

When young children are asked to write, trace, or copy letters before these skills are developed, bad habits can form. In these cases, you’ll notice that older students tend to have difficulty with handwriting.

There are many things happening all at once that develop poor motor plans and bad habits. Because preschoolers are not developmentally ready to write with a pencil, you may see these issues:

  1. Immature grasp on the pencil/writing utensil
  2. Inability to form diagonal lines
  3. Forms letters from bottom to top
  4. Forms letter segmentally and inappropriately
  5. Weak grasp on the writing utensil
  6. Inconsistent hand use
  7. Weak pinch and base of support on the pinky side of the hand
  8. Poor posture
  9. Inattention
  10. Difficulty identifying letters and copying complete parts
  11. Many other issues!

These mentioned issues with starting handwriting in preschool is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to introducing letter formation before kids are developmentally ready.

Pre-Writing Lines in Preschool

It is very important to mention pre-writing lines. These are the pencil strokes that precede formation of letters. Here are some resources you’ll want to read over and utilize in this important step in preschool development:

  1. We cover a great deal about pre-writing lines here.
  2. Use this pre-writing lines activity to work on this essential step.
  3. Consider this pre-writing lines slide deck when working with preschoolers in a virtual setting.
  4. Read about the developmental progression of pre-writing lines.
  5. Use this pre-writing leaf activity to work on the development of underlying skills as well as pre-writing line formation.
  6. Use these handwriting activities to work on pre-writing skill development.

If any of these areas might be an issue for your child with handwriting troubles, consider grabbing The Handwriting Book as a resource that covers all of the underlying skill areas related to handwriting.

So how are all of these areas addressed as a pre-writing skill in preschool? 

The answer is through play!

Can you believe that all of these areas are being addressed htrough play in the early childhood development stages?  And that all of these areas are building and developing with a resulting use in handwriting?  Amazing, right?  

Pre-writing skills start to develop in preschool aged kids.

    Stop by later this week to find out easy ways to encourage development of the above skill areas in group settings in the preschool environment.  It can be difficult to address the needs of a preschool class when there are 16 four year olds that need reining in.  I’ll have easy ways to encourage development of fine motor skills, visual motor skills, and attention skills in fun and creative ways…coming soon!  

 The Handwriting Book

BUY The Handwriting Book NOW    

Want to know more about The Handwriting Book?  Click on the image above to find out how to address every underlying area related to handwriting skills.     Click here to BUY NOW.

 
 

 

Use these Fine Motor Kits for hands-on activity kits to develop fine motor skills, strength, dexterity, and manipulation. Kids LOVE these fine motor kits for the motivating activities. Therapists love them because it’s fresh, fun ways to work on pinch, grip, manipulation skills, and much more. Try some of these themed therapy kits:

Colleen Beck, OTR/L is an occupational therapist with 20+ years experience, graduating from the University of Pittsburgh in 2000. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. As the creator, author, and owner of the website and its social media channels, Colleen strives to empower those serving kids of all levels and needs. Want to collaborate? Send an email to contact@theottoolbox.com.

Letter Reversals

Letter reversals and phonetic awareness

Letter Reversals…they are a major cause for handwriting concern by most parent’s standards. Here we are covering information about writing letters backwards and what is normal for letter reversals in development. We also have some great tips for addressing common letter reversal struggles and even reversal activities that can help with visual perception handwriting struggles. Read on!

Letter b and d reversals: These specific strategies cover letter b and d reversals.

Letter p and q reversals: You’ll find more specific letter reversal information in this post on reversing letter p and q.

Also check out these activities to work on backwards letters.

Writing Letters in Reverse

Do letter reversals mean dyslexia? Not exactly! Dyslexia means problems learning to read, spell, and write. However, there is much more to reversals than what meets the eye, and should be assessed before jumping straight to the conclusion of dyslexia.

Letter reversals such as switching b and d or writing letters and numbers backwards can be a result of various things. Here is information on letter reversals.

Letter Reversals Normal Development

Reversals are age appropriate up until 7-8 years of age!

That’s right! Letter reversals are normal up to a certain age range. And when kids write letters backwards it is actually typical development in handwriting skills. Working on letter reversals in occupational therapy (and other visual perceptual areas) can be a common occurrence for school-based OTs…but just because kids are writing letters backwards, it doesn’t mean there is a true problem indicating a need for intervention.

It takes our brains that long to integrate all the skills needed to form a letter correctly and automatically during written expression. Skills needed range from phonetic awareness, ability to imitate pre-writing strokes, automation of letter formation, and higher level cognitive skills for multi-tasking.

Some kiddo’s develop these skills faster than others. Some kiddo’s struggle with these skills and may receive support services such as occupational therapy or pull out services with their school’s reading specialist before age 7.

Services provided before age 7 are typically preventative and because the child has shown struggles in the foundation skills needed for reading and writing, such as phonemic awareness, challenges with pre-writing strokes and shape formation (visual motor integration), poor fine motor skills, dominance concerns or underlying vision concerns.

What is a letter reversal

The term Letter reversals refers to several things related to reversing letters in reading or writing:

  • Writing a specific letter backwards, when they replace a letter with another such as forming a letter b as a d or a letter p as a letter q
  • Writing a letter upside down or flipped, such as forming a u as an n
  • Reading a letter backwards, as when kids replace a d with a b
  • Writing letters backwards as when kids write letters h, n, s, z, etc. in a mirror image
  • Transposing letters or switching the order of letters when writing
  • Reversing or writing numbers backwards

Common Letter and Number Reversals

So, knowing that it is quite common developmentally, to reverse letters and numbers up until age 7 or 8, it can also help to know which letters are commonly reversed in writing.

Letter Reversals List

These letters and numbers are often times transposed for one another:

  • b and d
  • n and u
  • w and m
  • s and z
  • 3 and E
  • 2 and 5
  • s and 5

It’s easy to see why the letters and numbers listed above are often reversed. They all contain similar pencil strokes. For children that are just learning to write, spatial integration can be still developing. Kids are getting the muscle memory in place can replace one letter or number for another.

These letters are often written backwards:

  • b
  • c
  • d
  • e
  • f
  • h
  • j
  • k
  • p
  • q
  • r
  • s
  • u
  • z

Each of these letters has a starting point at the top and pencil strokes that then go into a different direction. Children that are still developing handwriting skills are establishing the motor plan for direction changes with the pencil. The can sometimes “guess” the correct direction which results in letters being written backwards.

Numbers that are commonly written backwards include:

  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 9

Each of these numbers also have a direction change which could easily be confused.

In many cases, working on letter and number formation so the muscle memory is established with fix reversal issues. Using multisensory formation activities helps to establish that motor plan.

Letter reversals can be related to phonetic awareness difficulties.
There can be a connection between letter reversal problems and phonetic awareness delays.

Phonetic Awareness and Letter Reversals

The current theory among the educational community is that reversals start with phonemic awareness. If a child is lacking phonemic awareness, they may struggle with letter identification and spelling needed for fluent written expression. Similar struggles may also be seen with numbers, resulting in a negative impact on math skills.

In my clinical experience, I have found that children with high rates of ear infections and PE tubes (ear tubes) struggle with sound awareness. If the kiddo is unable to hear the sound of the letter clearly and consistently, it leads to poor sound awareness.

I have also found that children with difficulties with attention and auditory filtering often pair the wrong letter sound with wrong letter. This is important to note in sessions as it may require remediation by a speech therapist or reading specialist if available. Here is more information and activities for auditory processing.

While phonetics play a large role in reversals, many other foundational skills may influence whether a child will struggle with reversals or not.

Letter reversals and a connection to hand dominance
There may be a connection between letter reversals and hand dominance.

Hand Dominance and Letter Reversals

Hand dominance is typically fully developed by five years of age. Right at the same time most children are learning and mastering the formation of letters and numbers. It also coincides with the start of kindergarten, or formal education where children who are struggling may be noticed for the first time. Writing with both hands can be a common struggle and an indicator of hand dominance challenges.

Children with handedness issues, whether it’s mixed dominance or delayed development of dominance, are more likely to struggle with left versus right tasks.

This plays into reversal concerns as many of these children cannot consistently discriminate left from right, leading to b’s and d’s, p’s and q’s being flipped. Often times, they are unable to recognize that they have made the mistake as their brain is registering the letter as they meant it to be.

VIsual processing plays a big part in letter reversals. Here's what you need to know.
Visual processing plays a big part in letter reversals. Here’s what you need to know…

Letter Reversals and Visual Processing

Vision is can be one of the biggest challenges facing children who struggle with reversals. Chances are, they have had an underlying vision concern that goes unaddressed or unrecognized during the critical learning period of letters and their sounds.

You will find much more information on visual perception in our free visual perception lab series.

(Children in the U.S. typically begin to learn letters and sounds between 3 and 4 years of age when they enter preschool programs. Curriculums now expect children to know their letters, sounds and how to write them upon entering kindergarten.)

Due to their vision deficit, the child may not consistently see the same image of the letter each time, or may not see the letter that is being taught due to “wandering” eyes or poor abilities to focus on the letter. The kiddo now has a poor foundation from which to build on, due to difficulties with recalling from their visual memory what the letter looks like, and pairing it with the correct sound.

To add to vision deficits, vision is not just what we see, or how the eye’s work together. It is also a motor task of taking information in with the eyes and reproducing an image, or in this case, letters on paper. This skill is known as visual motor integration and also plays a role in reversals.

Here are free visual perception worksheets that can address a variety of visual skills.

Visual Motor Integration and Letter Reversals

Visual motor integration allows us to write, draw and paint freely. To do all of these things, we go through a set development of producing pre-writing strokes and basic shapes in imitation to freely producing them from our memories and eventually becoming automatic. Here is more information and activities related to visual motor skills.

Most children learn to imitate these strokes and shapes at a young age from top to bottom and left to right. However, some children do not learn it this way or their brains are not “wired” to follow this pattern of development.

Children who deviate from this pattern may have difficulties with reversals as they struggle to learn and integrate letter stroke combinations in the correct order. When this happens, they struggle to write fluently and reversals may begin to appear.

Signs of poor visual motor integration skills that could lead to reversals include:

  • Segmental Drawing—drawing a shape one stroke at a time instead of integrated
  • Bottom to top orientation when drawing
  • Right to left orientation when drawing
  • Difficulties crossing the midline during drawing tasks
  • Rotation of the paper to adjust for angle execution
  • Failed attempts to imitate basic shapes after the child has stated what the shape is
Reversing letters can be related to an executive function difficulty.
Writing letters in reverse can be a trouble with executive functioning skills.

Executive Functioning and Letter Reversals

Executive functioning skills refer to our higher level thinking that includes attention, multi-tasking and memory, among many other skills. Writing requires all of these skills to be working at their best. If a child is struggling with any of these skills, they may demonstrate reversals and poor overall handwriting.

Reversals and poor handwriting may be the result of the child being unable to recall the strokes of the letter, the sequence of the strokes, what the letter looks like, where to start the letter, how big to make the letter, what each letter sound is, how to spell a word and complete their thought.

Oh, and lets add in that they have to remember how to hold their pencil correctly. For a kiddo who is struggling, this is a CHALLENGE.

There are so many more things that go into writing that may lead to reversals then what I have listed, but are too many to list out. 

The main concept of executive functioning is that if the child cannot make it all work together, from fine motor to phonemic awareness to visual motor, they are more likely to struggle with reversals in their work.

Try these letter reversal interventions to help kids who reverse letters and numbers.
Try these letter reversal strategies…

Letter Reversal INterventions

It is important to recognize that reversals may be the sign of underlying deficits with foundational skills and should be addressed when they are noticed. The sooner that these underlying deficits are addressed the better off the kiddo will be. Once a child has had a long enough time period to practice incorrectly, it will be that much harder to break the “bad habits” and correct the reversals.

You will find many letter reversal interventions in this blog post.

  1. This resource on letter b and d reversals is a helpful read on how specifically to work on these commonly reversed letters. You’ll find multi-sensory writing strategies to address b-d letter reversals.

2. Try “building” letters to establish the motor plan needed to create muscle memory. Use different colors to help children see the ways that the pencil moves when writing letters and numbers. This letter construction activity explains more about this process. This letter building strategy, paired with other forms of multi-sensory handwriting and teaching letters in groups based on the ways the pencil moves can make a big impact.

Addressing some of the other co-existing issues discussed in this article can be a start.

3. Address the motor planning in handwriting necessary for letter and number formation. Strategies that develop motor planning skills utilizing multi-sensory approaches can help with letter reversal. When kids learn and practice letters with visual, auditory, and kinesthetic sensory channels at the same time, the weaker channel may be reinforced (Berninger, 2000).

Multi-sensory letter reversal strategies include:

4. Work on visual perception with toys and games, and activities to address specific visual perceptual skills or visual motor skills.

5. Use cursive writing in some cases. Here are creative ways to teach cursive and our entire cursive writing series.

6. Gain a better understanding of visual processing and all of the “pieces” of the vision puzzle that play into letter reversal and other concerns by joining thousands of other therapists, teachers, and professionals in the Visual Processing Lab.

7. Use this Vision Screening Tool to identify and address specific vision concerns such as letter reversals.

8. Try some of these activities to address visual motor integration and eye-hand coordination.

Have concerns? Talk to your child’s teacher or occupational therapist to address your concerns.

Work on letter reversals and get a better understanding of vision, visual perception, and visual motor skills in the visual processing lab.
Work on letter reversals and get a better understanding of vision, visual perception, and visual motor skills in the visual processing lab.

Contributor: Kaylee is a pediatric occupational therapist with a bachelors in Health Science from Syracuse University at Utica College, and a Masters in Occupational Therapy from Utica College. Kaylee has been working with children with special needs for 8 years, and practicing occupational therapy for 4 years, primarily in a private clinic, but has home health experience as well. Kaylee has a passion for working with the areas of feeding, visual development, and motor integration.

Snowball Alphabet Worksheet pdf

snowball alphabet letter formation worksheet

Today, we have a fun handwriting resource for you. Grab your mittens because this snowball alphabet worksheet PDF is a free download that builds many skill areas. It may look like a snowball themed tracing worksheet, but this snowball letters PDF builds many skill areas. Let’s take a look at various ways to incorporate Winter Snowball letters into therapy and the classroom or home!

This snowball alphabet worksheet PDF is a free download that can be used to work on letter formation, handwriting skills, and more.

Snowball Letters

The OT Toolbox is continuing with its winter theme this month by offering another wonderful free printable.  If you have to live/vacation/endure somewhere with snow, you might as well make the best of it.  Everyone loves making snowballs.  That is why they have snow making machines pumping out fake snow here in the south, so we don’t miss out on all of the fun.  I have to say it is kind of strange sledding and throwing snowballs while wearing a short sleeved shirt.  

Before we get to the snowball letters activities, check out these snowball sensory ideas. Use real snow brought indoors (or use the items outside!). Kids will LOVE to use these snowball tools with our fake snow recipe. Plus, when kids are involved in making the fake snow, there are more therapy goals to address like executive functioning, bilateral control, and even tactile defensiveness.

Snowball Maker- The beauty of making snowballs?  It has evolved!  No longer do you need to have cold wet mittens while scooping up layers and layers of snow.  They have a tool for that! This (amazon affiliate link) snowball scooper is perfect for creating the perfect snowball.

Before you scoff and say you would rather do it the old fashioned way, you need to check this thing out!  I made the most perfect fake balls of snow with this contraption.  Now all I need is a launcher like they make for tennis balls, and some better aim.  Are you intrigued by this wonderful tool? 

Snowball Mold Set– Wait, there is more!  Kind of makes me want to have a snow day to try all of this cool stuff out.  You no longer have to roll snowmen, create handmade blocks for igloos, or scoop the snow with your hands.  Tired of circle snowballs?  They have a solution for that!  This snow mold set comes with penguin and heart shapes.  Need to be more efficient when creating these fluffy white bundles of fun?  They have a tool that will make FIVE snowballs at once!  They have just ramped being out in the snow to a whole new level.

Now that we have filled your shopping cart with such wonderful things to do in the snow, what about the days when your learners have to be in school, or it is too awful to stay outside all day?  A winter skills treatment or lesson plan is just what you need.

Snowball Alphabet PDF

The OT toolbox is showcasing winter activities and PDF sheets all month long. Today’s cute design is an alphabet letter worksheet full of winter snowballs to practice letter formation.

As always I love the versatility of each of these pdf activities and printables.  This design comes with two different ways to change the activity for different skill levels.  Tracing inside snowballs or working on letter formation with blank winter snowballs.

Use this snowball alphabet worksheet PDF along with our recent Winter Clothes Number Tracing worksheet for tons of skill areas.

When working with any learners, it is important to be able to adapt or grade your activity for multiple learning levels.  What does it mean to grade an activity?  To make it easier or harder for your whole caseload of learners or adapt the task for a specific learner.  Suppose you get started with the blank snowballs and realize your learner has no clue what the letters look like.  You would grade this down to either tracing, or copying letters from a model.  You could grade it further down to matching letters or identifying them.  You can grade up to writing lowercase and uppercase letters in the winter snowballs.

Snowball Letter Tracing Sheet

Since the first page is a tracing task, let’s talk about tracing. I am not a fan of tracing unless it is used correctly, or the objective is understood. 

  • Tracing is not going to teach number/letter formation if the learner does not know what those figures are.  To a learner who does not know these symbols, they will be tracing lines, not numbers or letters
  • Know your audience. If your learner does not know the letters or numbers, use the activity as a fine motor task to develop dexterity
  • Kinesthetic awareness.  This long word means to learn by doing.  Theoretically if a person writes the number 5 enough times, the body will start to recognize this pattern and commit it to memory.  This only works if the learner understands what is being traced
  • Tracing for dexterity. This is the type of tracing I like best.  Tracing for dexterity works on staying on the lines, fine motor control, building hand muscles, scanning and so much more.

What else does tracing and writing alphabet letters work on?

  • Handwriting – this is obvious as you are building letter formation
  • Fine motor control – holding a pencil, developing intrinsic muscle control to improve written expression, dexterity to stay on the lines on the tracing section
  • Letter formation – correctly forming the letters top to bottom
  • Letter sizing – correctly fitting the letters into the size boxes
  • Copying – copying letters from a model if you have graded it to include one
  • Working memory – remembering what letters have already been written, and what comes next. See if your learner can recall the next letter without going back to letter A each time
  • Sequencing – will your learner do the letters in order?  Will they go in a haphazard pattern all over the page?  
  • Bilateral coordination – remembering to use their “helper hand” to hold the paper while writing.  Using one hand for a dominant hand instead of switching back and forth is encouraged once a child is in grade school or demonstrates a significant strength in one or the other.
  • Strength – core strength, shoulder and wrist stability, head control, balance, and hand strength are all needed for upright sitting posture and writing tasks.
  • Executive function skills – attention, frustration tolerance, task completion and initiation, self regulation, working independently

To learn more about executive function, type this into the search bar on the OT Toolbox to see dozens of posts on this topic.  Here is a general post on executive function by Colleen Beck, owner of the OT Toolbox:

snowball letters, Winter Letter SNowballs- snowball letters, alphabet worksheets pdf, snowball alphabet worksheet

More ways to use the SNOWBALL ALPHABET WRITING PRACTICE SHEETS PDF

There are many other ways to adapt or grade the snowball alphabet sheet:

  • Laminate the page for using markers and wipes. This can be useful for reusability, as well as the enjoyment markers bring.
  • Place craft pom poms or mini erasers on the letters.
  • Cut out the snowballs and use them to match letters.
  • Use the snowballs for letter BINGO. Call out letters and ask kids to find the letter in the alphabet.
  • Call out a letter and have a student place a mini eraser or marker on the letter. Then they can form the letter onto paper or onto the blank snowballs.
  • Different colored paper may make it more or less challenging for your learner
  • Enlarging the font may be necessary to beginning handwriting students who need bigger space to write.
  • Create another page with all of the alphabet letters for copying or reference
  • Have students cut out letters from another page and glue to the snowballs – this adds a cutting and gluing element
  • Velcro the back of the snowballs, after laminating and cutting it, to create a matching game
  • Make changes to the type of writing utensil, paper used, or level of difficulty
  • Have students write on a slant board, lying prone on the floor with the page in front to build shoulder stability, or supine with the page taped under the table
  • Project this page onto a smart board for students to come to the board and write in big letters.
  • More or less prompting may be needed to grade e activity to make it easier or harder
  • Make this part of a larger lesson plan including gross motor, sensory, social, executive function, or other fine motor skills

How to document this activity:

  • First determine what goals and skills you are addressing. Are you looking strictly at letter formation, tracing, and alphabet recall?  Or something else entirely such as executive function and behavior?
  • Focus your observations on the skills you are addressing.  It is alright to address one or ten skills at once, just be sure to watch for those skills during the activity.  This can take practice to watch everything all at once. Newer clinicians often videotape sessions to go back and review clinical observations they may have missed.
  • Use data to back up your documentation. Avoid or limit phrases such as min assist, fair, good, some, many, etc.  They are vague and do not contain the numbers and data critical to proficient documentation.  Instead use percentages, number of trials, number of errors, exact sizing, how many letters were written incorrectly, number of reversals, number of prompts, minutes of attention.  You get the idea.
  • This type of documentation may feel foreign at first if this is not what you are used to, however insurance and governing agencies are becoming more strict on accurate documentation.

In addition to this great winter snowballs alphabet PDF worksheet, the OT Toolbox has entire winter themed lesson plans available as well as a Snowman Lesson Plan Kit that covers all aspects of therapy sessions.

These winter printables, including this Snowball Alphabet Worksheet will be highlighted all month long to help create amazing therapy sessions.  I have to say I am kind of excited about the snowball making contraption for those of you who live in the frozen north.  

Free SNOWBALL ALPHABET WRITING PRACTICE SHEETS PDF

Want to grab a copy of this Snowball Alphabet Worksheet PDF for your therapy toolbox? Enter your email address into the form below and the PDF will be delivered to your inbox. OT Toolbox Member’s Club members can access this writing practice sheet along with many others with one click to download, inside the dashboard.

Get free SNOWBALL ALPHABET WRITING PRACTICE SHEETS

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    I’d rather throw sand than snowballs any day!

    Victoria Wood, OTR/L

    Victoria Wood

    Victoria Wood, OTR/L has been providing Occupational Therapy treatment in pediatrics for more than 25 years. She has practiced in hospital settings (inpatient, outpatient, NICU, PICU), school systems, and outpatient clinics in several states. She has treated hundreds of children with various sensory processing dysfunction in the areas of behavior, gross/fine motor skills, social skills and self-care. Ms. Wood has also been a featured speaker at seminars, webinars, and school staff development training. She is the author of Seeing your Home and Community with Sensory Eyes.

    Snowman Therapy Activity Kit

    Click here to read more about the Snowman Therapy Kit and to grab your copy while it’s on sale.

    Snow globe Alphabet Puzzle Cards

    snow globe printable for letter matching

    Here, you can access a set of free snow globe alphabet puzzle cards. These upper and lower case puzzle cards use printable snow globe puzzles for matching upper and lowercase letters. It’s a fun winter therapy activity that develops many skill areas. Let’s take a look!

    This free snow globe printable is a hands-on, multisensory strategy to teach upper and lowercase letter matching. Use the snow globe letter match task in many ways in occupational therapy.

    Snow Globe Letter Match

    Get ready to have some Snow Globe Letter Fun with these snow globe printables.

    Winter is upon us.  For many, this is a wonderful time full of sledding, ice skating, hot cocoa, bonfires, icicles, and snow.  If you live in the cold areas of the globe, winter can be magical.  I am a summer type myself, so winter and cold are not my favorite words.  If I could live in the Bahamas year-round, I would.   Unfortunately, being a popsicle saleswoman does not pay enough.

    However, for those who love winter, the cold, and outdoor sports, this is your time! I grew up skating on frozen ponds listening for the crack sound before darting off the ice. We survived the blizzard of 1977 with snow piles as high as the roof.

    For me I can get my winter fix on just one blustery day, or by staring into a snow globe! 

    Snow globe Activity

    Creating a fun winter treatment plan is a good way to pass those long blustery days stuck inside. This week center a lesson around snow globes.  You can research snow globes, talk about collectors, go broad and discuss winter, then start your activity session on snow globes.

    Add this free snow globe breath awareness strategy as a deep breathing or self-regulation tool. Kids will love this whole snow globe theme!

    Then, print off the snow globe printable at the bottom of this blog post and use it to work on letter identification, visual discrimination, and handwriting skills, and letter formation.

    Snow Globe Facts

    Writing this blog post led to finding a few fun facts about snow globes. Use these in your therapy sessions, classroom, or home to work on handwriting skills.

    1. Snow globes are a glimpse of winter one can view from the comfort of the beach.  Collectors have shelves lined with snow globes they have gathered from around the world.

    2. If you want to bring back a globe from vacation, you will have to pack it in a checked bag.  No liquids over a couple of ounces in a carry-on bag.  I wonder how many awesome snow globes are sitting at security every day after being confiscated from lovely travelers.

    3. The Queen of Snow Globes has an entire website dedicated to snow globes.

    4. Andy Zito holds the world record collection of globes and domes, a whopping 11,500!

    5. You can read about the history of snow globes. The first known snow globe was reportedly created from an idea to make a brighter surgical instrument.

    Snow Globe Letter match

    If you are looking for printables and snow globe ideas, The OT Toolbox has you covered!  A good place to get started is the Snow Globe Printable Upper- and Lower-Case PDF Printable Puzzle Cards.

    This is a cute set of snowglobe worksheets that include the entire alphabet. It uses a winter theme to address goals related to matching upper- and lower-case letters.  Use this as a jumping off point to work on letter recognition, matching letters, and scanning goals. 

    There are many ways to use this activity, but the most efficient would be to color in these cards, then laminate them. 

    •  Make this activity easier for learners by coordinating colors on sides that go together, or more challenging by leaving them blank. 
    •  If leaving them uncolored, how about printing them on fun colored paper to help with the less motivated learners?
    • During the entire first week, have all of your learners color a page, then laminate the whole bunch.  Now each student will have had a hand in this reusable activity, that can be repurposed each year.
    • Enlarge these pages to make a great floor puzzle!
    • Project these pages onto a smart board for an interactive game dragging the pieces around the board. I am not a huge fan of technology; however, I like to provide these options for people who are.

    The term “jumping off” was used above in reference to this worksheet.  This does not need to be the complete lesson on snow globes OR handwriting. There is a continuum to learning anything.  For handwriting it might start with recognizing letters, move to matching letters or matching upper- and lower-case letters, progress to copying letters, then finally to writing them from memory.

    Start where your learner is currently functioning, then move forward. Often it is wise to start at one stage earlier than the current level, so the learner can have a sense of mastery, before moving onto a more difficult challenge.

    Have you ever noticed how many of your older learners gravitate toward “baby toys” or easy puzzles? This is because they have mastered them, and that sense of accomplishment, no matter how small, bolsters their spirit. Avoid getting stuck at this stage, but allow it at times, especially for your more reluctant learners.

    The OT Toolbox can fill your treatment plan with great ideas, not just worksheets. Look at this post on winter fun activities. Adding our snow globe puzzle cards to a winter theme would be a great way to incorporate various skill areas.

    In previous posts such as the Winter Fun Clothes Number Trace Worksheet, several goals were outlined beyond the most obvious.  Check out that post to get an idea of the goals that can be addressed using just one work page such as this Snow Globe Upper- and Lower-Case Letter Matching PDF.

    Free Snow globe Printable

    Want to add this snow globe letter match to your therapy toolbox? Enter your email address below to access a PDF for matching upper and lowercase letters. This alphabet puzzle card set is also available in The OT Toolbox Member’s Club so members can access it there without entering your email address.

    Snow Globe Uppercase and Lowercase Letter Match

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      Enjoy your winter season full of sledding, ice skating, snowball fights, and building snowmen, while I just stare into my snow globe, lounging by the beach.  Just kidding, I do not actually live in the Bahamas yet, but I will be spending one glorious week in the Caribbean getting away from old man winter!

      Stay warm folks!

      Victoria Wood, OTR/L

      Victoria Wood

      Victoria Wood, OTR/L has been providing Occupational Therapy treatment in pediatrics for more than 25 years. She has practiced in hospital settings (inpatient, outpatient, NICU, PICU), school systems, and outpatient clinics in several states. She has treated hundreds of children with various sensory processing dysfunction in the areas of behavior, gross/fine motor skills, social skills and self-care. Ms. Wood has also been a featured speaker at seminars, webinars, and school staff development training. She is the author of Seeing your Home and Community with Sensory Eyes.

      *The term, “learner” is used throughout this post for readability, however this information is relevant for students, patients, clients, children of all ages, etc. The term “they” is used instead of he/she to be inclusive.

      Winter Number Tracing Worksheet

      winter clothes number tracing worksheet

      When it comes to managing the long winter with activities, this winter number tracing worksheet has you covered. Use the winter clothes worksheet to talk with kids about winter clothing AND work on number formation. It’s a winter clothing printable that you’ll want to add to your therapy toolbox!

      This free winter number tracing worksheet is a winter clothes activity for kids that helps with motor planning of number formation using a winter clothing printable.

      Free Winter Number Tracing Worksheet

      This winter clothing number tracing worksheet is similar to our recent Christmas lights number tracing printable.

      Winter means different things for different people depending on their climate. Winter in the southern United States means adding a sweatshirt, possibly a hat at the bus stop early in the morning.  In the northern states winter is a different story.  Up north, winter starts in mid- September and seems to last until May.  I have northern roots but am a southern girl by heart. 

      Winter months in cold areas of the world mean bundling up and adding clothes.  Mittens, hats, coats, snow pants, boots, gloves, earmuffs, thick socks, long johns, and lots of layers are the customary daily garb.  Imagine trying to put this on and off a toddler each time you head out!  As soon as you get your child decked out in all these layers, they usually announce the need to go to the toilet!  It never fails.

      Since bundling up is a daily chore in the frozen north, why not add it to your treatment plan? The Warm Winter Clothes Number Trace Worksheet is a cute printable to build essential skills while using meaningful, relevant content.

      Tracing Numbers Worksheets

      Let’s talk tracing so you can use it to the maximum benefit and its intended purpose. 

      I am not a fan of tracing unless it is used correctly, or the objective is understood. Here is information on the benefits of tracing

      • Tracing is not going to teach number/letter formation if the learner does not know what those figures are.  To a learner who does not know these symbols, they will be tracing lines, not numbers or letters
      • Know your audience. If your learner does not know the letters or numbers, use the activity as a fine motor task to develop dexterity
      • Kinesthetic awareness.  This long word means to learn by doing.  Theoretically if a person writes the number 5 enough times, the body will start to recognize this pattern and commit it to memory.  This only works if the learner understands what is being traced. Using our sandpaper writing trick is one great way to incorporate kinesthetic awareness into number tracing and number formation.
      • Tracing for dexterity. This is the type of tracing I like best.  Tracing for dexterity works on staying on the lines, fine motor control, building hand muscles, scanning and a whole host of other important skills as defined below

      Winter Clothes Worksheet

      While worksheets are not a favorite among occupational therapists, there are ways to support skill areas by using worksheets to meet the needs of kids. When we address the underlying skill areas to support function, printables like this winter clothes worksheet can address a variety of areas.

      What does this winter number tracing worksheet work on besides tracing?

      1.  Kinesthetic awareness – This means learning by doing.
      2.  Hand strength and dexterity – staying on the lines builds hand muscles and develops muscle control. Check out the In Hand Manipulation Printable Worksheet to incorporate developing the intrinsic hand muscles.
      3. Visual motor skills –Combining what is seen visually and what is written motorically.  This takes coordination to be able to translate information from visual input to motor output. Coloring, drawing, counting, cutting, and tracing are some visual motor skills.
      4.  Visual Perception – Developing figure ground to see where one item start and finishes, scanning to find all answers, and visual closure to understand that dotted lines will create something.
      5. Strength – Core strength needed for sitting, shoulder/elbow/wrist stability, finger strength, and head control all play their role in writing.
      6. Bilateral Coordination – Be sure your learner uses their helper hand for stabilizing the paper while using their dominant hand for writing.
      7. Counting/Learning Numbers – Count the items to understand number concepts in addition to tracing them.
      8. Social/Executive Function – Following directions, turn taking, task completion, orienting to details, neatness, multi-tasking, attending to task, and impulse control can be addressed using this Warm Winter Clothing Printable PDF.

      When using a task such as this number tracing worksheet, therapists can utilize and focus on all the above skills or just one or two.  There are times when I am working more on executive function than fine motor skills but will use this task with more of my focus on these executive function skills.  My note might not say much about their number formation, counting skills, or neatness, but how well they were able to attend to the task, complete the task, follow directions, and control their impulses.

      Winter Clothing Printable

      There are so many ways to use this winter clothing printable to work on number tracing, and more.

      How do I incorporate or modify this task for the needs of all my learners?

      Lots of ways!  As always, this sheet can be laminated for reusability or marker use, printed on different colored paper for readability, enlarged or made smaller, made simpler or more complex. Try having learners color the shapes and write the numbers independently on the back to add more visual motor tasks to this winter clothes worksheet.

      This covers one day of winter, what about the other 240?

      Glad you asked!  The OT Toolbox is stuffed with activities, blog posts and work pages to fill those winter days. The Winter Fine Motor Kit full of handouts and PDF files provides several visual motor tasks to be used throughout the winter season.

      Plus, in The OT Toolbox Members Club, you’ll find winter clothing printables and resources to address a variety of needs.

      In addition to these handouts, you can also read this article on Winter Fine Motor Activities for more great ideas and suggestions:

      Winter is a very long season. Especially if you are not a fan of the cold weather (author raises hand).  Adding fun activities and games can take some of the monotony and sting out of the long cold days. 

      Brrrrrr, bundle up!

      Free WINTER NUMBER TRACING WORKSHEET

      Want to access this printable number tracing worksheet? Enter your email address into the form below. You can also find this winter clothing printable in The OT Toolbox Member’s Club.

      Winter Clothing Number Tracing Worksheet

        We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe at anytime.
        Victoria Wood

        Victoria Wood, OTR/L has been providing Occupational Therapy treatment in pediatrics for more than 25 years. She has practiced in hospital settings (inpatient, outpatient, NICU, PICU), school systems, and outpatient clinics in several states. She has treated hundreds of children with various sensory processing dysfunction in the areas of behavior, gross/fine motor skills, social skills and self-care. Ms. Wood has also been a featured speaker at seminars, webinars, and school staff development training. She is the author of Seeing your Home and Community with Sensory Eyes.

        Watch for more winter clothes worksheets and winter printables coming to this space.