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5 Tips on Teaching your Preschooler to Write

5 Tips on Teaching your Preschooler to Write

As your little one heads down their early childhood education journey they will face challenges. Toddlers and preschoolers are discovering a brand new world and all it has to explore.

One challenge is learning to write. This can be a difficult task and will require patience on the part of the parents, but teaching your preschooler to write doesn’t have to be as treacherous as you think.

Following these 6 essential tips on teaching your preschooler to write will help make this process a lot easier for you and for them.

Tips on Teaching your Preschooler to Write

1. Have Patience

Like I mentioned earlier, teaching your preschooler to write can be difficult and will require some patience on your part. Try remembering this is brand new to them.

Just like with adults learning a new skill can be frustrating at times. Have this as a part of your daily routine. Take breaks and then come back to it. This is not a skill that will be learned overnight.

There are some prerequisites to introduce before your preschooler will be able to jump right into writing alphabet letters and numbers. Be sure to follow the remaining tips to help ensure a a smoother process of teaching your preschooler how to write.

2. Develop Fine Motor Skills

Helping your preschooler to develop fine motor skills is crucial before teaching them to write. Fine motor skills are the ability to make movements with the smaller muscles in our hands and feet.

There are many activities that can help your toddler or preschooler develop fine motor skills. By using any tool that makes your preschooler have to pinch or grab you are strengthening those small muscles.

These tools can include but are not limited to:

  • tweezers
  • straws
  • scissors
  • tongs
  • crayons
  • beads
  • string

Fine motor skills are fine tuned as a result of developed gross motor skills. Gross motor skills require our bigger muscles (or entire body) like arms, back and leg muscles.

Gross motor skills include:

  • sitting
  • standing
  • jumping
  • running
  • kicking
  • catching

If you find that your preschooler is having a difficult time with the fine motor skills spend more time with activities that may help them with the gross motor skills first.

3. Coloring before teaching your preschooler to write

It is very important to allow your toddler or preschooler to color or scribble before introducing actual letters, shapes or numbers.

This allows them practice with holding markers or thicker crayons. By doing this first you give them the opportunity to develop the skill of holding and grasping a writing tool that is thicker than a pencil.

Having the skill of being able to grasp the thicker tool first will make it a lot easier for them when it comes time to use a standard pencil.

A bonus benefit of having your preschooler color or scribble first is that they will see that they can make curved or straight lines. By spending time making simple items like these you are preparing them for writing alphabet letters, numbers and eventually shapes.

4. Identifying Letters

The next tip on teaching your preschooler to write is having them be able to identify letters and numbers. This skill should come before writing for many reasons.

First, the process is made simpler because your preschooler will recognize what you are teaching them to write. They have the image in their head or in front of them.

This gives them an idea on what types of lines and curves they should be creating. By having your preschooler being able to identify and recognize the alphabet also helps them know the difference between upper and lower case letters as well as numbers.

Great ways to help your child develop the skills of mastering identifying letters include:

  • educational videos
  • magnets
  • flashcards
  • puzzles
  • books

You can also go a step further and have them create letters with play-doh stencils and other accessories. This type of activity also helps with those motor skills we discussed earlier.

5. Tracing helps teach your preschooler how to write

Now that we have covered patience, gross and fine motor skills, coloring/scribbling, holding pencils/crayons, and identifying letters we can move on to tracing.

Tracing is by far one of the greatest activities that will help your preschooler learn to write. Tracing allows them to see what they are creating. It even gives them the order in which the lines and curves should go.

By tracing letters before attempting to write them all on their own your preschooler is given the opportunity to have more practice with holding writing tools as well as identifying the alphabet.

Tracing takes the pressure of preschoolers to have to get every line and curve perfect because the outline is done for them. We know they will make mistakes, but them seeing that they have created a letter or number gives them the boost of confidence they need to keep going!

Conclusion

Teaching your preschooler to write is a difficult task, but can be made easier by following these tips. Be sure you are aware of the ability of your toddler or preschooler’s gross and fine motor skills before attempting to teach them to write.

You may need to spend more time on these and that is perfectly fine! Remember every child is different and works at their own pace.

Also, remember to have them practice holding thicker writing tools such as jumbo markers or crayons before they hold a standard pencil. It is also very helpful that your preschooler can identify the alphabet before trying to write it.

We can’t close without the very important reminder for parents to be patient! This is not just for the challenge of writing, but for all of the new tasks your preschooler will face as they are on their early childhood education journey.

Breathe, take breaks, follow your routines! With dedication and intentionality you and your little one will reach success on this journey!

Do you have any questions? Or do you have any tips of your own for teaching preschoolers to write? I would love to answer your questions and/or hear your tips! Please leave them in the comments!

5 Ultimate Sensory Bins for Toddlers

5 Ultimate Sensory Bins for Toddlers

As your toddler is venturing down their early childhood education journey, you may have noticed they are really checking out a lot of different things. They maybe smelling, touching or even tasting almost EVERYTHING!

Jean Piaget is a pioneer of the study of childhood development. His theory of play is based upon cognitive development requiring environmental stimuli. He viewed “play” as a process of learning. He placed this process in different stages from birth to adulthood.

It is quite normal for your toddler to try to explore new things as they play. During this stage of development, they will be discovering a lot of different things in the world around them with their senses.

Sensory play is defined as any activity that stimulates a child’s five senses. One great activity to enhance this segment of development is sensory bins!

Sensory bins are so much fun and have a lot of benefits for toddlers and parents. The bins are just plastic bins that are filled with fillers as well as a variety of objects with different colors, textures, shapes and smells.

Benefits of Sensory Bins

  • One benefit of sensory bins is fine motor skill development. Fine motor skills are those skills that we accomplish with the smaller muscles in our hands and feet. Sensory bins can involve:

grasping

pinching

scooping

pouring

All of these will help your toddler fine tune their fine motor skill development. Here are some more activities that will help your toddler with their fine motor skill development.

  • Another benefit of sensory bins is cognitive development. Sensory play helps stimulate toddler’s and preschooler’s creativity and discovery skills. This type of play also helps children engage their senses. All of these have been linked to help cognitive development.

  • A third benefit of sensory bins is focus. Sensory bins can definitely help with keeping a toddler’s attention. There is so much stimulation happening in one bin, it’s tough for them to lose focus quickly. I know my boys will stay in one bin for hours if I let them!

  • Another added benefit of sensory bins is that the objects can be switched out very easily. This is a great bonus if your little does lose focus. By simply changing the objects in the bin you can help your toddler regain focus and continue learning while playing.

  • The fifth benefit of sensory bins is sensory development. Sensory development starts from birth and continues to develop throughout the early years. Sensory bins are wonderful in helping with sensory development because they give toddlers exposure to several different colors, shapes, textures and even smells.

Now that you can see the many benefits of sensory bins, let’s jump into these ultimate sensory bins for toddlers. These are some of my favorite bins that I have tried with my little ones!

5 Ultimate Sensory Bins for Toddlers

1. Beach

The beach sensory bin is a very cool bin for toddlers. For this bin you will need sand, beach toys and tools. Buckets, shovels, dumpers, and sieves are all great tools for this particular bin.

A tip for this bin is when are ready to switch it up a bit is to add a little water to the sand. This will change the texture and allow your toddler to make items with their beach toys.

Toddlers will gain a lot of practice with fine motor skill and sensory development with this bin. Plus they will have a lot of fun pretending they are on the beach!

2. Rice

rice as an ultimate sensory bin for toddlers

The rice bin is another bin that works very well for toddlers and preschoolers. For this bin I like to have handheld magnets. Then I place magnetic objects in the rice. Your little one will have a blast pulling what they find out of the rice with their handheld magnet!

As pictured above you can see there are many options to choose from for this bin! Just use your imagination and get creative!

This bin has not disappointed yet! My boys like to pretend they are scientist!

3. Orbeez

orbeez is a great filler for sensory bins for toddlers

Orbeez sensory bins will help send your toddler on a sensory ride! They are small, colorful, soft and squishy! Plus they are very fun to play with. For this bin I like to create the ocean with different sea creature toys.

Place the toy whales, sharks, fish, starfish and crabs towards the bottom of the orbeez. Then your toddler can go on an ocean hunt to see what they can find. It’s so much fun watching them explore the texture of the beads while hunting.

If you would like to change this bin from time to time water works great!

4. Beans

Beans make another great sensory bin due to their different textures, shapes and colors. For this bin you can have jars and measuring cups.

This will allow your toddler to practice measuring and counting. They will also get practice with pouring and scooping to fill up the cups.

5. Cornmeal

The last sensory bin for toddlers on our list is cornmeal. For this bin you will need construction vehicles and toys. Bull dozers, excavators, dump trucks, you name it!

Your toddler will use the toys and their hands to explore the texture of the cornmeal. They will also get practice with pouring , filling and pushing the cornmeal with the construction toys.

Tips for Sensory Bins

While sensory bins are a fun learning and development tool there are some things you should keep in mind:

  • Your toddler will need to be supervised. Especially if you decide to use bins with small pieces or objects that can be swallowed when they should not be.

  • It is important to remember towels and extra trays to help keep the areas of play clean. Sensory bins can get pretty messy so please keep these in mind as you prepare.

  • Always choose age appropriate bins. This is important for safety reasons. If you would not allow your toddler to play with an object outside of the sensory bin it probably isn’t a good idea to put it inside of the sensory bin. The same goes for preschoolers as well.

  • Try to use toys/objects/fillers that can be used again. When you do this you can save yourself a lot of time and money!

Conclusion

Sensory play is a great tool for cognitive and sensory development. It is also very helpful for focus and helping to expand your toddler’s attention span.

Sensory bins help toddlers gain experience with many different textures, shapes, colors and smells. They also help with fine motor skill development.

Remember to make this a fun time for your little one! This can also be an activity that siblings and parents can join in on too!

I hope these ideas have gotten your creative juices flowing! Do you have any other sensory ideas or tips? I would love to hear them! Please leave them in the comments.

7 Important Benefits of Routines for Toddlers

7 Important Benefits of Routines for Toddlers

I was the type of parent who was winging it everyday. My day with the kids didn’t really have any structure or routine. I would have an idea of what I needed and wanted to get done, but no real plan was ever set in place. To put it lightly, a lot of days turned out to be quite hectic.

I can tell you from experience continuing that type of parenting can only lead to chaotic days. Days filled with chaos will only increase stress and anxiety levels for you and your little ones.

If you are like I was I have good news for you! It doesn’t have to stay that way. When I became serious and more intentional about starting my children’s early childhood education journey I knew our days had to have more structure and organization.

The best way to achieve these is to use routines. I started out by introducing morning and evening routines. Then gradually worked our way up to daily routines. I cannot begin to express how beneficial these routines have been for our family.

When preparing your toddler for their early childhood education journey establishing routines will be one of the greatest things you can do for them and for you.

Routines have several benefits for toddlers as well as parents. Here are seven important benefits of routines for toddlers.

7 Important Benefits of Routines for Toddlers

1. Healthy Habits

The first benefit of routines for toddlers is building healthy habits. Routines allow toddlers to practice different skills daily. Once a toddler becomes accustomed to these skills as apart of their routine, they become a habit.

Toddlers will know they need to brush their teeth in the morning and at night, for example. Another example could be meal time and snack time as apart of a routine. This will teach your toddler that we eat a variety of healthy foods and snacks and that a sweet treat is only for a dessert and/or a reward.

Think of some healthy habits you would love for your toddler to start now and then continue with as they grow older. Incorporate them into your routines and watch the healthy habits develop!

2. Time Management

The second benefit of routines for toddlers is time management. Time management is a lifelong skill that we will ALL need for our entire lives. So, why not start teaching this skill to our toddlers early on?

With routines you demonstrate to your toddler how much time is spent completing particular activities/ skills. By doing this you are teaching them that while it is important to do things well, we should be mindful of how long we spend so that we are able to get what we need done in a timely manner.

A great way to accomplish this is to set a timer. I remember when I started using a timer for my four year old. He loves to take his time doing things to make sure they are done well. This is great, but not when it comes to time management.

When I started using a timer, he began to realize that he could still take his time to do things well, but was now aware that he also needed to pay attention to how much time he was spending on a particular skill/activity.

How many times has your kiddo asked you for just 5 more minutes with that game or toy? Once the timer goes off they now know it is time for the next item on the routine.

According to a study done at the University of Albany psychologist Jennifer Weil Malatras, “found that individuals who grow up with predictable, daily routines are less likely to have time management or attention problems as adults.”

3. Boundaries

The third benefit of routines for toddlers is setting boundaries. By using daily routines toddlers begin to realize what they can do and when.

Toddlers will begin to take notice of the order of the day. By setting boundaries you are also avoiding many of the power struggles that can come between parents and toddlers.

As your toddler becomes more familiar with the routine they will know when it’s time to start and stop playtime, reading time or naptime etc. This leads me to the next benefit of routines for toddlers which is expectations.

4. Expectations

The next benefit on our list is setting expectations. By using routines daily, toddlers will know what to expect throughout the day. Routines serve as a guide to toddlers. This guide shows them what is expected of them as well as what they can expect.

Will everyday go strictly by what’s on your routine schedule? Of course not! Things happen and plans change. When this does happen, it’s an added benefit because it helps toddlers adapt to change.

By setting expectations you are also gifting your toddler with a sense of security. This leads right to my next benefit of routines for toddlers which is security.

5. Security

When toddlers are learning boundaries and expectations we are also giving them a greater sense of security. When there is structure, order and set expectations and boundaries toddlers are left with little to question.

What should I do now, who is going to be home when I get back, what am I eating for dinner? All of these questions run through the minds of our little ones.

With set routines, we take away the need for them to have the answers to these questions because they already know as a result of the routines that are set in place!

6. Responsibility

As toddlers grow more and more aware of their daily routines and begin to build habits, they will also learn that they have responsibilities.

They will know it is their responsibility to make sure they brush their teeth or keep their room clean. Tidy up time is a wonderful part of the routine because it teaches toddlers that when they make a mess they should pick up after themselves.

Giving toddlers responsibilities and even small chores adds a bonus benefit of also showing them that the family works together. By giving them their “part” to do you show them that they are apart of the team!

7. Confidence and Independence

The last benefits of routines for toddlers on this list is confidence and independence. As toddlers grow more aware of the expectations and boundaries set as well as develop healthy habits you will notice them growing more confident.

As their confidence grows they will also grow more independent. They will have the confidence to do things on their own and because routines are set in place there will be a clear understanding of what is expected of them and when.

Conclusion

In conclusion, routines have many many long lasting benefits for toddlers. Routines help set the stage for early childhood education. They also make expectations and boundaries clear.

Additional benefits include giving toddlers a sense of security, helping them develop time management skills, responsibility and even building confidence and independence.

Are you currently using routines? If so, how is it going? If not, would you like to start? Let me know in the comments! It is my hope to help you along this journey!