Writing skills are important for preschoolers to develop before entering kindergarten, which means they need lots of practice in preschool. See how these free Valentine’s prewriting practice cards are just the right thing to add to your friendship preschool theme or your Valentine’s preschool theme this February.
Prewriting skills are a vital part of the journey of learning to write. Tracing with a finger, using manipulatives to make a path along lines, and using dry erase markers to trace along a path or shapes are all examples of prewriting activities that help ready preschoolers for eventual letter formation. These Valentine’s prewriting cards are the perfect way to practice these skills.
FREE Prewriting Cards for Valentine’s Day
Pre-writing skills are the fundamental skills children need to develop before they are able to write.
Fundamental as in of central importance in forming a necessary base.
So when I say that pre-writing skills are fundamental skills to learning to write, then that means they shouldn’t be skipped.
So, what do we do when our writing center or our journal practice gets a little stale?
Introducing heart themed prewriting cards! And these practice cards are for more than just tracing.
FAQ About Teaching Writing Skills to Preschoolers
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.
About These Prewriting Practice Cards
These were actually inspired by a reader who was kind enough to respond to one of my emails in December where I was sharing my free Christmas pre-writing cards.
Jennifer spent some time making her preschoolers come mailboxes out of microwave oatmeal boxes. She decorated the boxes and stapled several together before she wrote her student’s names on them.
I’ve been looking for ideas for the kids to write to each other. I figure they will practice folding construction paper for a card. So when I saw your stuff, I knew what else I needed to provide!! The kids can practice tracing, then put their friend’s name on the back, and their name (I’ve been teaching them to write) and put them in their friend’s mailbox!!
I loved her idea so much I asked if I could share her story and make some heart prewriting cards for Valentine’s Day. If your preschool doesn’t celebrate holidays, or if you are outside the United States and you don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day, then you can use these cards as part of a shapes math unit or a friendship unit.
But Jennifer responded with a resounding “yes” when I told her I would be making these Valentine’s Day prewriting cards. And I hope you enjoy them just as much.
Be sure to read to the end of this post for some of my ideas on how these prewriting cards can be used in different ways.
Valentines Themed Pre-Writing Practice Cards
These pre-writing cards feature a range of lines to keep your preschooler interested as well as give them the extra line tracing they need.
- free Valentine’s prewriting practice cards
- dry erase pouch
- dry erase markers
Print the tracing cards in color on heavy cardstock.
At this point, you can cut apart the prewriting cards into strips, or you can leave them whole as one sheet. It doesn’t matter. But I like to cut them apart because I feel like our activities using them can be more versatile.
For traditional line tracing, you’ll want the prewriting strips in a dry erase pouch.
Make Any Prewriting Activity in a Valentine’s Day Activity
This is completely unnecessary, but extra fun. I like to add a littler extra Valentine’s flair to my preschool writing center with some heart or Valentine’s themed writing materials and manipulatives.
Why manipultaives, you ask? Read all the activities below.
How to Use the Valentine’s Pre-Writing Cards
There are several ways to use these prewriting cards to teach writing to your preschoolers. Your preschooler’s skill level will determine which writing activities you use below.
When it comes to prewriting development, starting off with tracing isn’t the best idea. Instead, evaluate your preschooler’s skills and offer them one of the fine motor activities included in this post.
Use a Dry Erase Marker
The first way to use these prewriting worksheets or prewriting tracing cards is to use them in a dry erase sleeve and have your preschoolers practice tracing the lines in dry erase marker.
Then Erase the Marker With Your Finger
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!
If Tracing is Too Much, Try This
If you really want to get the most “bang for your buck” with my free prewriting worksheets, then before you even start tracing, have your preschooler use a button and push the button along the lines. This helps your preschooler develop a sense of feel for common line patterns that are found in writing letters. It also develops concepts of left to right progression in writing and reading.
If you use a pom pom, then they get even more fine motor practice because pinching the pom pom forces children to use their pincer grasp, which is fundamental to developing a mature pencil grasp.
And Use Stickers, too!
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.
Try Adding Buttons or Small Manipulatives
Anytime you ask a preschooler to line up small items or manipulatives, you are helping them develop their fine motor skills, which are a precursor to successful prewriting. Invite your preschooler to use small buttons 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.
Don’t Forget Rainbow Writing
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.
More Rainbow Writing Activities for Preschoolers
One More Note About Teaching Prewriting Skills
The tracing lines on these cards are varied so that they mimic real curves and shapes of letters. There are straight lines that are jagged and curved lines that are like waves. All these lines mimic letter and number shapes.
When my preschooler first begin using prewriting cards like these, I stress to them the importance of starting at the left (where the heart is) and tracing to the right. This is the natural progression in forming letters, not to mention how we actually write in English. From left to right.
Be sure to read below for five more ways to use this printable!
More Ways to Use This Printable
There are so many ways to use this freebie! Let me share some ideas with you.
- Have your preschoolers trace the lines and share them with their friends like Jennifer suggested.
- Use these prewriting cards with a salt tray. Or add them to a sensory bin.
- Add small heart shaped manipulatives like buttons or floral pebbles to form the lines rather than tracing. Placing small manipulatives on the lines really makes the preschoolers use their pincer grasp.
- You can also use the for push tracing. Instead of tracing with a marker, trace each line with a button.
- Invite your preschooler to roll fine snakes and form the lines with play dough.
How else would you use these preschool Valentine’s prewriting cards?
Interested in Learning More?
Your free prewriting practice cards are below, but I wanted to also share with you some of the best books I have about how to teach preschoolers to write. This book list has helped me become better at teaching preschool writing.
Grab Your Fun Valentine Prewriting Cards Below!
But be sure to scroll down to find more activities for preschoolers!
There’s some awesome FREE Valentine’s printables down there, too, so be sure to grab them all!
More Valentines Preschool Activities
From conversation hearts and tissue paper to letter recognitions and sensory bottles, kids love these Valentine’s Day activities.
More FREE Prewriting Practice Cards
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.