What are you adding to your preschool writing center this summer? Try these ice cream themed prewriting worksheets. They’re one of many excellent prewriting activities for summer…and they aren’t just for tracing, either!
Learn how to use these prewriting worksheets as fine motor tasks to help develop pencil grasp while learning the writing strokes that make up the alphabet.
Free Worksheets to Practice Writing Strokes
Pre-writing skills are fundamental for children to develop before they are able to write.
Fundamental as in “of central importance in forming a necessary base.” I’ve talked about this before. Many times.
So when I say that pre-writing skills are fundamental skills for learning to write, then that means they shouldn’t be skipped. Even though it might be tempting, we can’t afford to skip prewriting skills in our preschool lessons.
And now that summer is nearing and our preschoolers are kindergarten-bound, we need to make sure to offer only the best and most effective prewriting activities for summer.
Prewriting skills are the fundamental skills preschoolers need to develop before they can effectively write and form letters. These skills include (but are not limited to) being able to draw, copy and color, and even just being able to make simple strokes with a pencil that mimic those found in writing. Prewriting is foundational to developing good handwriting skills.
A major prewriting skill is the ability to form the basic pencil strokes that make up all letters and numbers. They are as follows: |, —, O, +, /, square, \, X, and Δ. Focusing on building blocks outside of traditional letter and number tracing will help accomplish this. Children should practice hand and finger strength, crossing the midline, pencil grasp technique, hand-eye coordination, and even visual perception activities.
Some preschoolers will just sit down and start scribbling, drawing, or attempt writing letters. Others have no interest in using traditional writing materials. This is when all the hands-on activities mentioned above come in handy.
Allow your preschoolers to use playdough to make shapes, or play with magnet letters. Or use magnet letters as stamps to make letter impressions. Sit down and make an alphabet book with your preschooler, or ask for help making a shopping list. Do loads of fine motor activities that force them to use the pincer grasp, like beading onto pipe cleaner or picking up small items.
Don’t Forget to Add Some Picture Books
There’s nothing better than adding some ice cream picture books to your summer theme preschool activities, and even your writing preschool center.
Prewriting Worksheets for Summer
These prewriting worksheets are not just for tracing. They can be used for many different fine motor activities to help develop pencil grasp while learning the basic strokes of handwriting that make up the alphabet.
Don’t forget these tracing worksheets are free, so be sure to grab your copy at the end of this post.
There is also a bundled set of all my prewriting cards. It includes 16 of the most popular preschool themes so you can have ready-made tracing practice all year long!
- Summer Prewriting Cards Printable
- Dry erase sleeves
- Dry erase markers
- small manipulatives (optional)
- playdough (optional)
Print the ice cream prewriting cards on cardstock. Slip the pages into protective dry erase sleeves and set them on the table with some dry erase markers. Then invite your preschoolers to practice their prewriting skills.
Prewriting Activities for Summer
There are a number of prewriting activities that you can do with your toddlers and preschoolers to help them develop the writing skills needed for letter formation. Keep reading for seven great prewriting activities!
Use a Dry Erase Marker
The first (and probably the most common) way to use this printable is with a dry erase marker. I love using these dry erase pouches because I think they clean up better than laminated sheets. I also love offering my preschoolers dry erase activities because they feel so special being allowed to use these markers.
If your older preschooler is struggling a bit with pencil grasp, I highly recommend these pencil claws. Your preschooler might hate them at first, but I find it to be the most effective way to correct an immature pencil grasp. But let me be clear: these are only necessary if your preschooler is five years old or older and has not developed even a functional pencil grasp.
Then Erase the Dry Erase Marker
One of my favorite activities to support letter formation and prewriting lines is to have my preschoolers write first in the dry erase marker, and then have them use their finger to erase the marker. This way they get twice the practice! And it’s the only time it’s ok to use their hands to wipe clean a dry erase pouch. Otherwise, we just use knit mittens for erasers.
Trace with Small Manipulative
Another fun way to use these worksheets is to have your preschooler push a button with their finger along the tracing lines. This helps your preschooler develop a sense of feel for common line patterns that are found in writing letters.
Using a small pom pom to trace the lines is another great way to help preschoolers develop fine motor skills. Pinching the pompom forces children to use their pincer grasp, which is fundamental to developing a mature pencil grasp.
Use These Summer Themed Prewriting Cards with Stickers
Peeling stickers is a favorite of any child, but it’s also excellent fine motor work! Grab some small dot stickers and have your preschooler add the stickers to the lines. The fine motor work in this activity is different than the above, but still helpful to preschoolers.
In fact, peeling and placing stickers is one of the most popular fine motor activities I used in our fine motor journals.
Line Up Manipulatives
Anytime you ask a preschooler to line up small items or manipulatives, you’re helping them develop their fine motor skills, which are a precursor to successful prewriting. Invite your preschooler to use small buttons, pompoms, or little erasers to practice prewriting by lining them up along the lines.
My preschool son loved this activity because of the colorful buttons. It was a challenge to line up the buttons, but a good challenge. *NOTE: Do not use a laminated sheet or a dry erase sleeve. It makes the surface too slick and frustrates preschoolers because the buttons won’t stay put.
Rainbow writing is where children practice tracing the same line multiple times by tracing the line in several different colors before moving on. This is a classic prewriting activity for preschoolers and it naturally adds extra practice while using the same writing printable.
I like to have my preschooler practice rainbow writing these cards throughout the week, and then I staple them together into a book to take home at the end of the week.
Fun with Playdough
One more fantastic activity you can do with these printables is with playdough! Have your preschooler roll the playdough into skinny snakes. Then they can move the snake along the lines and cover them up.
It may take young children a little work to roll out the playdough into snakes thin enough and to manipulate the playdough to cover the tracing lines, but it will be great for their fine motor development.
How About Some Ice Cream Toys?
I love spending a whole week or more doing an ice cream theme during the summer. These are some of the toys I have out for my preschoolers:
Get An Entire Year of Prewriting Cards!
This bundle of prewriting cards features sixteen themes for an entire year of prewriting activities for preschoolers. Including all the traditional themes taught in the early years, these line tracing cards make pencil control practice fun and practical. They are fun for kids and effective for teaching.
Get Your Free Ice Cream Prewriting Cards Here!
Think these prewriting cards would be great to add to your prewriting summer activities? I know you do! My preschoolers loved them; there’s just something about ice cream that gets preschoolers excited to learn.
Just fill out the form below and the ice cream tracing cards will be sent to your email.
You Might Like These Other Writing Activities
If you’re looking for even more prewriting activities this summer–or prewriting activities for any time of the year–these might interest you!
I’m Sarah, an educator turned stay-at-home-mama of five! I’m the owner and creator of Stay At Home Educator, a website about intentional teaching and purposeful learning in the early childhood years. I’ve taught a range of levels, from preschool to college and a little bit of everything in between. Right now my focus is teaching my children and running a preschool from my home. Credentials include: Bachelors in Art, Masters in Curriculum and Instruction.