For a few weeks now we've been doing some gripper work with the 5 year old here. This Rainbow Writing is a variation of this gripper work, larger-at the wall-no gripper. (Thank goodness she doesn't care if I'm an artist or not. Obviously I can't even draw a symmetrical rainbow!)
I'm a fan of prewriting cards and often have them available to the kiddos. They are great for teaching left to right progression and help with eye/hand coordination. These were specific excercises she was to do with a pencil and gripper and I found that these excercises are a lovely "step up" from the preschool cards available. I created a set of very simple cards by using the lines I like to use for beginner writers and a yellow marker and scanned them in.
My goal is to use them for older preschool children who need a bit more of a challenge. They aren't fancy but they do the trick. You can download a copy here if you wish. The above picture is what the document looks like. I added paper cutter lines so that after they are laminated you can trim them so they are individual cards. I did leave one page with lines only so that if you want to create your own (perhaps you have better "penmanship" than I do...wouldn't take much!) you are welcome too.
* Laminate and cut apart to be able to reuse.
* Card 1: circles...magic c motion 3-5 times, without picking up writing tool, stop switch to the other direction 3-5 times.
* All cards should use a continuous movement. Discourage the children from stopping and picking up their writing tool.
* You may wish to use a green marker dot to show the children where to start prior to laminating. K. asked me to put a green dot on each line. :-)
* Don't be concerned about the children tracing exactly on the yellow or getting it exactly right on their own lines. They'll get there. It takes time. The reason why I added the "draw fast" category is because I found that with K., she's overly concerned about getting it just right and really when she doesn't worry about it and she's going faster...she's more accurate. When she sees this her confidence grows.
* Allow some choice in colors. Sometimes all the child needs is a little choice in the activity to make it be a bit more enjoyable.
* Encourage responsibility of their work by having them make sure the caps are on the markers and in their container and the cards are wiped clean and put back in a basket or on the tray.
Easel Work/Vertical Plane Activities:
* Encourages better posture.
* Strengthens shoulders, hands, and wrists.
* Helps keep attention since their work is directly in front of them.
If you don't have an easel or it's not right handy (like ours is more often than not lately) tape the child's paper to the wall or a window. Or if you are doing free drawing/writing...washable markers at a sliding glass door or window works quite nicely!
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------There are many resources out there for toddler/preschool tracing cards. Here are four sites to get you stared if you are interested.
PreWriting Cards in most of her theme packs.
Garden Preschool Pack has cute watering can to flower tracing cards.
Many themed Prewriting Cards
This one was created in connection to the book Mrs. Wishy Washy.
When do you start PreWriting Cards?
I have mixed age group, my toddlers tend to get introduced to these cards sooner than most children. Often they just start coloring them because they love the cause and effect of dry erase markers. :-P However, a good time to start prewriting cards is when your toddler is scribbling on a paper in a somewhat organized way. They seem to have a plan and are actually closing up circles intentionally, showing more "writing" vs. coloring/scribbling. I start to see this type of drawing between 2.5-3 years old. The steps that I use with toddlers who are just starting these cards is to demonstrate ("watch"), hand over hand, and then "go for it!" No right or wrong. They'll progress naturally and then you'll know when to start with letter and number formation.