15 Handwriting Activities for Students

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Handwriting is an important skill for young learners. As teachers, we are always searching for new handwriting activities to make instruction fun and engaging for students.  ETTC’s Handwriting Packet is a consistent resource that can be used throughout the year to practice letter formation and build fine motor strength.  Our handwriting packet provides a variety of handwriting activities for you to use with your students!

As an ETTC Premium Member, you have exclusive access to this incredible handwriting resource!  Handwriting and mastering correct letter formation can be an overwhelming and frustrating task for students. Our Handwriting Packet is full of engaging activities that can help students improve their handwriting skills daily.

We know it can be hard to imagine fitting one more thing into your daily lesson plans. However, there are numerous ways that you can easily incorporate our handwriting packet into your existing curriculum. The packet includes D’Nelian, print, and cursive versions. 

Handwriting Activity 1. Use a Smart Board (Whole Group)

This exclusive members-only Handwriting Packet includes digital teaching slides. These are the perfect way to introduce letter formation or review previous letters. Projecting these slides onto your large whiteboard allows all students to see and visualize the correct letter formation. As the teacher traces the letters on the board, students can make “air letters” with their “magic pencils” by raising a hand and forming the letters in the air. Young learners often need to first feel the way the letter forms using large arm movements. 

Students love to be the teacher and take turns coming up to the board and tracing the letters as well. This is a great team encouragement activity as students compliment classmates for their nice work with this handwriting activity. 

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2. Student Digital Slides (Individual)

The digital slides included in the Handwriting Packet can also be used for students to individually practice letter formation on their own computer or device.  Students love using digital slides in a center. If using technology isn’t an option for you, or you are looking for a different option, print out the digital slides! These can be laminated and used over and over again with a dry-erase marker. 

3. Plastic Sleeves and Dry Erase Markers

Any of the letter writing pages from the Handwriting Packet can be added to a plastic sleeve and students can have consistent and continued practice with the letters. If you notice a student is having trouble with a particular letter, print that letter page, put it in a plastic sleeve, and encourage your student to try again. Using different sizes (thick or thin tips), and colors of dry erase markers can keep this handwriting activity interesting for students. 

Handwriting Activity 4. Use Manipulatives

Each handwriting page included in the D’Nelian and print versions of the Handwriting Packet has an opportunity for students to build fine motor strength by using manipulatives to form the letters. Some suggested ideas are stickers, stamps, bingo daubers, play dough, or mini pom poms. It’s also fun to use seasonal manipulatives (such as mini erasers) and plastic tweezers. Try switching up the manipulative for each letter, or let students pick the manipulative they use. Giving students a choice allows them to take additional ownership of their work while completing this activity. 

5. Use a Variety of Writing Tools

While it’s important for students to become comfortable forming the letters with a pencil, it’s helpful to try other writing tools from time to time to keep students interested. Keep handwriting activities fun by using a variety of tools. Try thin or thick markers, colored pencils, gel pens, colored pens, or highlighters to practice writing the letters on the pages of the Handwriting Packet.

Handwriting Activity 6. Connect to Other Subjects

Handwriting activities can be incorporated into your existing curriculum by connecting the activities to other subjects. That’s why we have included a fun and silly science fact on each page of the handwriting packet! This is a perfect opportunity to encourage questions and discussion about the science topic. It can keep handwriting practice interesting for your students. They are always excited to see what the next silly science fact will be when we get out a new handwriting page.

Extend upon the topic during class discussion or use it for a research opportunity. For example, the letter Cc silly science sentence reads, “A group of cats is called a clowder.” This is a great chance for students to share personal stories about cats and make connections. Or use this as a research opportunity to find out what other groups of animals are called and make a list. Check out the silly science fact about turtles below! 

 

The cursive version of the handwriting packet includes grammar as well. The cursive version has students working on noun and adjective recognition. Again, making connections among subjects helps handwriting activities easily become a part of your daily lessons.

7. Tracing

Students often need extra practice tracing letters before they can form them on their own. It can be difficult to relearn a letter formation if they have been making it incorrectly. It’s important to carefully observe students as they are learning the letters and allow them to trace in the beginning. While tracing, students should be encouraged to use the correct form and pencil strokes while making each letter. Every handwriting page in the packet includes an opportunity for students to trace the letters before trying them on their own. 

Handwriting Activity 8. Rewrite

After tracing the letters or words on the pages of the handwriting resource, students will rewrite them on their own. This handwriting activity gives students additional practice using the writing lines to correctly form the letters. If you notice that students are having a hard time rewriting on their own, it can be helpful to use the plastic sleeves and dry-erase markers, as mentioned before, to go back and trace the letters again.

 9. Use Highlighters

Another option is for the teacher to write the words or letters with a highlighter, and have students trace the highlighted letters. When I notice that a student is having trouble with the rewriting portion on a page, I grab a highlighter and form the letters for the student to trace. This can help students that are struggling or might need a little extra encouragement. Highlighters can also be used to trace the writing lines to help distinguish these on the page for students. 

Handwriting Activity 10. Handwriting Notebook

The Handwriting Packet can be printed and stapled together into a handwriting notebook. Keeping all of the handwriting pages together in a “packet” or notebook-style format allows students, teachers, and parents to see the handwriting progress that is made over time.

11. Include Handwriting in a Center

While it’s important to have teacher-directed handwriting lessons, as well as small group lessons, handwriting can also be great in a center. Placing handwriting in a center can give students continued practice with letters they might be struggling with. The continued practice can help them become more fluent in letter formation. Using the digital slides in a computer center, or placing laminated handwriting pages with dry erase markers in your writing center are both great center activity options!

Handwriting Activity 12. Small Groups

It is so important that teachers consistently monitor student handwriting progress. Students can often be forming the letters incorrectly, and not realize it. This is why small group handwriting activities are important. When you sit together with a small group, you can closely monitor their pencil grip and letter formation.

All of the handwriting activities in our handwriting packet are perfect for small group work. We love to use colorful clipboards during small groups to keep it fun! Students that are struggling with handwriting can become easily frustrated. Remember to provide plenty of teacher encouragement and support during small group time.

Praise them for their continued effort and hard work. Chances are that if they are struggling, they are truly doing the best they can. It is often that their fine motor skills are still developing. Remind them to keep trying the handwriting activities and be sure to incorporate other fun activities to build fine motor skills in your daily lessons. 

 

13. Family Involvement

As with all school activities, family involvement has a huge impact! Families can be included in handwriting as well. Handwriting packet activities can be sent home for extra practice. When students practice handwriting at home as well, it keeps families involved with what is happening at school. It can also help make families aware of things to continue working on at home. This one-on-one time with a parent can provide additional encouragement for students.

However, if you notice that parents or students are becoming overwhelmed with home handwriting practice, be sure to address that. Other ideas might be to:

  • make handwriting homework optional
  • send home a plastic sleeve and dry erase marker to students
  • offer home fine motor activity suggestions such as building legos, playing with play dough, or using bingo daubers

Any way that you can include parents and families in their child’s handwriting development is beneficial! 

Handwriting Activity 14. Continued Practice 

As students progress into 2nd and 3rd grade, handwriting is still important! This is often the time when cursive is being introduced, and all of the above ideas can continue to be used as a new type of handwriting is taught to students. As mentioned above, our cursive versions in the handwriting packet include a grammar component for these older primary students. Consistent cursive handwriting practice is so important for students because learning a new type of handwriting can be overwhelming for many of them. Our handwriting packet includes the consistent handwriting activities that are so helpful for students. 

15. Incorporate Other Handwriting Activities

Along with the Handwriting Packet, there are many other activities you can easily incorporate into your classroom to practice handwriting and build fine motor skills. Here are a few ideas that are sure to keep your students engaged and learning.

As an ETTC Premium Member, our exclusive Handwriting Packet gives you consistent and engaging ways to incorporate handwriting activities into your daily lessons. We are so excited to offer these to our members to provide you and your students with fun ways to build handwriting skills!

Written By:  Sarah Cason

 

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At Education to the Core, we exist to help you connect with the Education to the Core community to find trusted, state-of-the-art resources designed by teachers for teachers.