Pencil Grasp Progression

Pre-Writing Progression

Need ideas on how to start working on pre-writing strokes and shapes?




Build It!

Children learn best by doing! Using their hands and manipulating material is a creative way to promote learning! A fun way to start learning how to form shapes and lines is to build them! You can use materials you have lying around the house. Here’s what we used with our kiddos:


-Lines: Playdoh.

-Circle: Wikki sticks.

-Cross: Pebbles

-Diagonal: Popsicle sticks and Pom poms.

-Diagonal: Pegs on pegboard.

-X: Pipe cleaners and Beads.

-Square: Straws and clay

-Triangle: Magnets


Find food in your pantry to make edible lines and shapes! This one is made from pretzels and marshmallows!


Other materials to use to build shapes:

Legos, string, ribbon, blocks, outdoor sticks, rocks, clay, mud!



Kiddo's gross or larger motor movements first develop in the arms before using smaller movements of hands, so why not have your kiddo motor plan the shapes with larger movements first?! That’s why we say make it BIG! Making it BIG allows for your little one to fully engage in the movement and learn through play. Make it BIG activities strengthen gross motor movements and creates for a strong foundation, preparing for fine motor movements to naturally evolve. Let’s make GIANT lines, diagonals, and shapes! 


Here is how our kiddos Made it BIG:

-on the window using window markers 

-on the wall, using dot markers-connecting the dots to form shapes.

-painting lines and shapes on an easel

-using contact or sticky paper (and painter's tape) use popsicle sticks/pipe cleaners to make shapes and letters on the wall. 


Make It Tactile

Tactile or Sense of Touch allows for prewriting shapes and strokes to be performed with intentional sensory input. Making it tactile adds an additional intrinsic motivation for learning the prewriting lines and makes learning interesting! 


Here's how our kiddos made it Tactile!


-cool whip (for edible fun) but could also use shaving cream.

-finger paint

-sandpaper letter (trace)

-sprinkles or rainbow rice

-use glue bottle to form shapes then add colorful sand

-sensory bag