Messy Writing

Duration: any

Age: toddler, child

Skill for Bub: Hand/eye coordination, Just for fun, Mind builder


Pre-writing skills are worked on in preschool, but parents can turn everyday fun into learning experiences. One way only requires a can of whipped cream!

One of the first skills children are excited to learn is writing letters and numbers and eventually writing their own names. Writing is a skill that is worked on in school, but parents can start to introduce this writing at home.

  • Encourage your child to write when playing with paints. Show her how to use the paintbrush, or her finger while finger painting, to form letters and numbers. The fine motor skills needed in painting are the ones needed for printing.
  • Another way for your child to work on writing skills, and have lots of fun in the process, is with a can of whipped cream. Set up a table outside (or in your indoor play area) and cover it with a layer of whipped cream. Let your child, who is dressed in either a bathing suit or play clothes, write with her finger in the whipped cream. Help her by guiding her hand to create a letter, then let her try a few on her own. Start over by gently wiping over to smooth out the whipped cream.
  • We all know a sandbox is fun, but did you know it can hold a world of discovery? Whether you have one in your backyard or you visit your local park, a sandbox is the ultimate sensory writing experience. Sit in the sandbox with your child and smooth out an area for writing. Practice letters, numbers and even shapes in the sand. Simply smooth out your surface when you’re done and try again!
  • Other activities that encourage fine motor development also will help her pre-writing skills, such as cutting with scissors, drawing with chalk and markers, tearing paper, and throwing and catching small balls and beanbags.