Writing…the most difficult to understand of the pre-literacy skills. How can I work on writing when my baby can’t even hold her own bottle? Writing definitely comes later when preschoolers have refined their motor skills and strengthened their muscles – but pre-writing skills are anything that can build those fine motor skills and muscles.
As your baby grows to become a toddler, you can guide her hand to trace shapes and letters. Straight lines, wiggly lines, zig zags, triangles, squares, and circles are a great place to start even before she can recognize letters. As she gets older and masters the shape movements, start with simple letters - bonus if your little one can work on the first letter of her name! Using different textures can help her “feel” the shape or letter as well as see it. Try these activities:
Cut letters or shapes out of different textured surfaces (smooth cloth, sandpaper, craft foam, etc.) and help him trace the letter with his finger.
Fill a shallow tray with various media and have him trace shapes and letters through it. Try water, sugar or sand, shaving cream, or anything else you want to clean up… I mean, experiment with!
A slightly cleaner version of the above is to make gel bags by putting hair gel into a Ziplock bag. Reinforce the seal with duct tape, and lay the bag on a flat surface. Have her make letters by pushing the gel around inside the bag. (This is often done with a bag full of hand sanitizer – but that might not be how you want to use it these days!)