Teaching preschoolers about letters and how to write them correctly can be so much fun. Seeing their curious little minds work and put together the pieces is so rewarding.
It may feel like the pressure is on to teach them about letters and writing them correctly. I have put together some important information and activities to make teaching letter formation fun and seamless!
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Is Forming Letters Correctly Important?
Yes, forming letters correctly is very important. If children do not learn how to correctly form letters, writing can become very difficult and time-consuming.
Imagine for a second writing a word, but instead of writing from top to bottom, you write from bottom to top. That is a very inconvenient way of writing.. not to mention, learning to write in cursive would be almost impossible!
When is the Best Time to Teach Letter Formation?
Typically, around preschool age is the best time to teach letter formation. Children should be able to identify, copy, trace, write lines, patterns and shapes before teaching letter formation.
How do You Teach Forming Letters?
Teach Top to Bottom
Teach children to write from top to bottom.
Use Starting Points
Give children a starting point for writing letters. I like to choose printables that have a starting dot and arrows for them to follow.
Teach both Upper AND Lowercase Letters
Many times, people focus on just uppercase or just lowercase, however teaching both is important! I like to phrase it as every letter has a big pal and a little pal!
Strategies for Teaching How to Write Letters Correctly:
Before beginning to form letters, it is important to make sure that your little one is ready. Ensuring that they can do things like hold a pencil properly, trace a line, make shapes, and color.
Practice Similar Letters Together
Practicing similar letters together is beneficial for a few different reasons.
Similar letters require similar hand motions, so the repetitive motion is good for hand-eye coordination. It is also beneficial for kids to be able to distinguish letters that are similar.
Exposure to Properly Formed Letters
Expose your little ones to letters that are properly formatted. Use visual cues like dotted lines, a highlighted bottom line, different colored lines, etc so they can see how to format their letters.
Practice makes perfect!
Make it Fun
Kiddos learn best when having fun! Ensuring that your little one is having fun is very beneficial because they will not grow sour towards the activity or task you are asking them to do.
26 Activities for Teaching How to Write Letters Correctly
Fun activities are probably one of the best ways to teach anything to kiddos.
Wikki sticks are a low-pressure way of teaching letter formation and recognition.
Pipe cleaners are similar to wikki stix, and an equally great way to learn letter formation!
Dot Markers are a phenomenal way to teach proper letter formation.
Crayons/ Markers (amazon link, blurb, plus link to letter color sheets *check TL for some)
Having some different items to write/color with is so important to switch it up!
Coloring printables are a great way to expose little ones to properly formed letters and allow them to have fun and color at the same time.
Rainbow writing is where you use different colored markers/crayons/colored pencils to trace over a letter and make a rainbow letter. The adult can make the first letter trace, and then the little one can take over!
Dry-erase markers are great to use on laminate sheets that you can use over and over!
Grab some q-tips, paint, and some paper. Draw out the letter you want them to paint (if they are more advanced) skip this step. Then have them paint with the q-tips! They can dot the paint or use the q-tip like a paintbrush.
Stickers are a fun and simple way to practice letter formation. Have your little ones make the letters with stickers!
Washi tape is a unique and fun way to work on letter formation. You can use the tape to make the different letters that you are working with.
Playdough is great for little hands to play with, but also serves as a fun way to form letters!
Stampers, similar to dot markers can be used to dot around a letter that you have traced for your little one.
Watercolors are a great way to get little ones engaged! Have your little one paint the letter(s) they are working on!
Simply add some salt to a tray or plate and have your kiddo start tracing different letters with their fingers.
Practice Finger Tracing
Show your preschooler how to use their finger to trace imaginary letters or letters that you have drawn out for them.
Jelly Beans or Cereal
This is a fun one! (make sure to have extra as a snack!)
Use jelly beans, cereal, or whatever you have laying around to make letters with!
You can use this activity as a fine motor skill activity if you have your kiddo use tweezers to pick up the pom poms and form letters!
Pattern blocks are a great way for little ones to learn letter formation while doubling as a way to learn about shapes. You can get these free pattern block letter templates here.
This is a classic activity for littles learning to form letters. Dispense shaving cream onto a table or flat surface and have your littles create letters.
Related Post: Shaving Cream: A Fun Learning Activity
Incorporate Gross Motor Movements
Have your little ones use their bodies to make letters or have them write letters in the air with their whole arm.
Your little ones will be in awe when they discover this ghost-writing trick!
Related Post: Hand and Finger Strengthening Activities
Alphabet Printables for Practicing Letter Formation
I love these printables from CreatePrintables. They have letters A-Z and have both upper- and lower-case letters.
I love these sheets! I really like that there is a picture associated with the letter as well!
These letter-formation cards are wonderful! After tracing the letters, help your little one cut out the cards and now you have letter flashcards!
These sheets are very dynamic and keep your little one engaged because of all the different activities there are to do on the sheet.
These sheets are more of a classic sheet like we grew up with. I love the sign language letter at the top of the sheet!
Frequently Asked Questions about Forming Letters
How many letters should I teach at a time?
Pick 2-4 letters per week to teach. After a few weeks of adding in letters, be sure to review a few that you’ve already taught.
Should I teach them their name first?
I would teach them the letters of their name using the 2-4 a week rule. Then, you can have them put it all together once they’ve learned all of the letters of their name.
Related Post: 12 Fun Activities to Teach Letter Recognition
Should I teach uppercase or lowercase first?
You should teach them simultaneously! This way your child understands that they are the same letter, making the same sounds, just used differently.
What do I do if my child is forming letters incorrectly?
If your child has picked up a bad habit of incorrectly forming letters, you can gently correct them with a fun tracing printable!
What is the best activity for teaching letter formation?
Doing a variety of different activities is great for teaching letter formation. Using different activities helps to stimulate different parts of the brain and allows for a deeper learning experience.
Learning letter formation is a big step for younger kids. It means that they are well on their way to reading and writing.
It can seem stressful, but don’t let it be! Have a good time and create a fun learning experience for your little ones.
What are your favorite letter formation activities? Let me know in the comments!