If I ask Sophie to practice handwriting, she doesn't want to. But if I invite her to play a game, she jumps at the chance of beating me!
We played this game this morning in our pyjamas before we even went downstairs! We started with traditional noughts and crosses as a warm up. It is a great way to practice the pre-writing shapes that children need to be able to make before their can form the letters correctly.
Drawing the noughts or crosses, and the line through them when you win, uses six of the nine pre-writing shapes.
The nine shapes increase in difficulty and the image below shows the developmental sequence. You can see that the circle is easier to draw than the cross so children could draw the noughts if they are not quite ready to draw crosses yet. You might find that your child draws and + rather than x. The x is one of the last shapes that children master. If your child finds it tricky, try some activities that encourage them to cross their mid-line (an invisible line down the centre of their body) e.g. in a sand pit get them to hold the spade in one hand, place the bucket on the opposite side of their body and encourage them to reach across to fill it.
If your child is at the early stages of mark making and not yet ready to write letters, noughts and crosses is a great game to play on a large scale so that they can make big shapes. You could write on the pavement with chalk or use water with a paintbrush. If you child is able to make most of the pre-writing shapes confidently then you could use a pen and paper to help get them ready for writing letters.
Handwriting Practice and Letter Reversals
Sophie often reverses the letters b and d when she writes. Instead of focusing on both letters together, I showed her how similar a and d are when we write them. The letter d is formed in the same way as an a but you go up higher before coming back down. I thought if she could link a and d instead of trying to remember the difference between b and d it might help her. She practiced writing both letters using the handwriting board from our Phonics Box. She started on the dot then followed the arrows to form the letters.
Then we played noughts and crosses again, but this time we took it in turns to write a or d. Each time we played a new game, we swapped letters so she got chance to practice writing both letters. She also picked her favourite coloured pen which made her more excited about writing. It was a great way to get her to practise her letter formation in a fun way.
I often draw noughts and crosses grids on her whiteboard but I bought this book which has pull out pages for lots of different pencil and paper games. I thought it would be great for when we go to restaurants or on holiday but as we can't do that at the moment I thought we may as well start using it at home. I have added it the my Amazon shop. It is an affiliate shop which means that you don't pay any extra but Amazon gives me a few pence.
It has lots of different games including the Code Breaker game which I did a more than/less than version on my Instagram recently. The games inside are great for practicing lots of the pre-writing shapes in a fun way.