How to Teach Handwriting to Toddlers

Learning handwriting can be hard to teach to toddlers. They don’t always have the fine motor skills to hold a pencil. Their letters go all over the place. You get frustrated at their pace. And as parents, we don’t always know the best way to get started.

My daughter came home with a note from her teacher saying that the goal for the rest of the year was for her to learn to write her name.

“What? So soon! She’s only 3!”, I thought to myself when I read it.

But I realized that my little baby is no longer my little baby. She’ll be going to the pre-k4 class in the fall and attending 5 days a week. She knows how to spell her name and soon will be learning to write it and how to read.

After crying and staring at baby pictures for a good hour, I realized I had to brush out some of my skills from my student teaching in kindergarten and do what I could to help me daughter write her name.

And while yes, they would spend time in her classroom writing her name, teaching her the direction of the letters and getting in practice, I knew that it was my job to reinforce the skill at home.


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Using Pre-Writing to Teach Handwriting

While your toddler is getting ready to understand writing letters, you can get them started with pre-writing skills. This includes things like using pencils and strengthening their fine motor skills and drawing shapes or tracing lines.

Check below for some great resources to use when starting pre-writing with your toddler!

Outer Space Prewriting Practice from Simple Fun for Kids

Farm Animal Prewriting Practice from Simple Fun for Kids

Prewriting Practice Sheets from 3 Dinosaurs

Preschool Prewriting with Magnets from Days with Grey

Writing with Shaving Cream from a Dash of Learning

I Can Change the World

Handwriting Activities for Toddlers

In the beginning, when you want to make handwriting exciting and fun and start to introduce the letters to your toddler, you will want to try some sensory activities for kinesthetic ways to help them learn how to make their letters and even the concept that the lines put together in this way make a letter.

I’ve pulled together some great and fun activities you can do with your toddler to teach them handwriting.

Differentiated Activities from Lessons 4 Little Ones

Rainbow Roll Game from Teachers Pay Teachers

Slime Writing from the OT Tool Box

Lego Handwriting Mat from This Reading Mama

Handwriting Sheets for Toddlers

There are a lot of great resources out there when it comes to handwriting sheets for your toddler! There are also a lot of great programs such as Handwriting Without Tears which you can get on Amazon. As a former teacher, I know that repeated practice and things like rote handwriting sheets actually do make a difference.

And while they aren’t the most exciting way to learn to handwrite, actually practicing the skill of handwriting with pencil matters!

Check out some great places you can get free or cheap handwriting printables for your toddler!

Teacher Appreciation Letter from The Suburban Mom

Cow Activities and Mazes from Simple Fun for Kids

200+ Handwriting Worksheets from The Measured Mom

We’re starting now, at age 3, to incorporate handwriting activities into my daughter’s day. Though I know she’ll get practice at school, we’ll be adding in handwriting every other day (in some form) to start to help her fine motor skills and muscle memory of the letters develop!


Make sure you PIN this post to come back to later when you need some ideas or free printables! When did you start handwriting with your kids? Leave a comment and let me know!

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