Want to support your blossoming writer? It turns out that understanding certain vocabulary words helps children know how and where to form the lines and shapes of their letters!
- Directional words like top and bottom are important for being able to show and explain where certain parts of letters start and end.
- Up, down, and around are important for describing the movement of the pencil.
- Middle, or midpoint, is important for understanding the differences between uppercase and lowercase letters and for explaining where lines connect.
Playing with clay or playdough is a great way to familiarize your child with these words while also building their fine-motor skills.
1. First, have your child help you roll the dough into several long lines, then arrange the lines vertically on the table.
2. Ask your child to point out the tops and bottoms of the lines, helping them if necessary.
3. Ask your child to point out the middle of the first line, again helping as needed. Then use your fingers to pinch the line in the middle and break it, explaining that the middle means there is the same amount of clay on each side of the break.
4. Finally, let your child practice finding and pinching the middle of the other lines. (You can control the difficulty of the task by maintaining or varying the lengths of the lines.)
Not only does this playdough activity provide a concrete reference to explain positional words that you can use when helping your child write letters, but it also requires children to use the same small muscles in their hands that are needed to hold and a control a pencil!
We would love to hear your thoughts on this activity, as well as suggestions on future topics to cover! Please leave a comment.