Preschool children are generally excited about writing. This is especially true when there is a purpose for writing and the adults are excited, too. Here is a simple card making activity to encourage children to write.
Use a variety of papers and textures so each child can choose papers that interest them. Then each child can choose a family member, a neighbor, a friend, or even you to make the card for!
Here I preprinted some papers to match children’s interests. I left the insides blank. I use “comic sans” because the font is easy to read and is a good writing model.
The materials used here include paper, markers, crayons, and/or color pencils. Envelopes can be used if you and the child choose.
Observe the children. Not every child will start right away. Some children will want to watch others getting started before they start. Other children will dive right in and still others may want you to give them encouragement and ideas.
Some children will be excited about writing their feelings on a card. Some children may want to dictate part of their card and others will need assistance. This way they will see what their spoken words look like. Some children may want to make several cards. Some children will point to words or “words” they write.
Cards are welcome any time just to say “hello”, “I’m thinking of you”, in addition to Christmas, birthdays, Easter, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. I like teaching that thank you cards are especially appreciated.
Extend language and thinking by asking some questions.
- Who is the card for?
- What would you like to add to your card?
- How do you think they will act when they get your card?
- I see a lot of letters on your card. Tell me what your are writing about.
- What sounds do you hear in “Mommy”?
- What sound do you hear at the beginning of “Daddy”?
- Gary wants to write the word “love” on his card. What sound do you hear at the beginning of “love”?
Teachers/adults help the children see the component parts of the letters and the words they write. Point out the curvy letters and the straight letters that make up a word they write on their card. Ask if they wrote a letter that has curved lines with intersections like a “B”. Are their letters without intersections like an “S”? Use terms such as upper case and lower case.
Adults watch and as each child writes their message on their card, they can match each spoken word to a printed word. Notice if a child pretends to read and touches each word as they recite the message. That child is demonstrating an understanding of a word.
A bonus for the card writing activity is that it’s a great way to bridge home and school. The recipients of the cards will have a visual documentation of the child’s writing development.