During the preschool years, children are introduced to writing numbers. Teachers can encourage correct number formation through lessons that involve tracing and following dots. Other activities allow children to have fun with finger painting and using chalk and crayons.
Children between the ages of 3 and 5 are developmentally ready to begin writing numbers. There are several ways that preschool teachers can make writing numbers enjoyable while guiding the children in developing their fine motor skills.
Tracing is a method that works well for preschool children who are just beginning to write numbers. By tracing numbers repeatedly, children have the opportunity to improve their handwriting and to familiarize themselves with proper formation.
- Tracing paper or wax paper
- Photocopied worksheet of written numbers (This can include several lines of numbers 0 through 9, or several lines of a selected "number of the week".)
1. Give each child a pencil, a worksheet and a piece of tracing or wax paper. Instruct the class to place the tracing paper on top of the worksheet.
2. Demonstrate the method for tracing the numbers on the worksheet, and show the children the correct way to form the numbers. Allow the preschoolers to practice writing numbers on additional sheets of tracing paper if time permits.
Following the Dots
"Following The Dots" is a preschool writing activity that strengthens hand-eye coordination and fine motor development. Many children enjoy creating numbers by connecting a series of dots.
- Photocopied worksheet of numbers in dot formation (Teachers can either make their own or follow a template from a workbook.)
1. Hand out pencils and worksheets to the class. Show the children the proper technique for connecting the dots to form numbers.
2. Ask the children to name each number that they've created by following the dots. Repeat this activity often so that preschoolers can continue to improve their handwriting.
Fun Number Writing Activities
For some creative and fun twists, encourage children to work with manipulatives such as paints, crayons, and indoor or outdoor chalk. Here are some ways to expand the practice of writing numbers beyond using pencils and worksheets:
1. Allow the children to finger paint numbers onto construction paper, or have them use a brush to make numbers with craft paint.
2. Try letting the children can write numbers with glue and shake glitter on top.
3. For some good clean fun, have your preschoolers practice writing numbers by dipping their fingers into pudding, yogurt, shaving cream or whipped cream.
4. Give preschoolers the opportunity to draw colorful chalk numbers on construction paper or a chalkboard.
5. On sunny days, take the class outdoors so that they can make numbers with sidewalk chalk.
6. Another creative outdoor activity involves writing numbers on the pavement with water using paintbrushes.
7. Keep baskets of crayons or washable markers available for the children to use when drawing numbers freehand or completing worksheets.
8. By having Play-Doh readily available, preschoolers can use it to practice forming numbers.
These are great ways to get preschoolers to develop the skills needed for the handwriting and math exercises they will encounter in grade school.