The tools we write with in preschool

Writing skills are developed through a variety of tools in our preschool…

We often use our fingers to write with…

We use crayons to write with…

We use pencils to write with…

We write with chalk…

We use markers, paper, ink dot daubers, and ink stamps…

And more, which I will share throughout this school year but the main point I want to share today is that building an interest in writing and developing pre-writing skills can happen naturally as children are given a variety of tools and opportunities to explore the writing process…

First we want to strengthen fine motor skills and second, we want to make sure that we are keeping the writing process fun and inviting…

What tools for writing do you like to use? I am always on the look out for more fun ideas…

Links to grow on…

See more pre-writing activities from Creative Connections for Kids!

See the stages of writing from Educational Creativity!

See this insightful interview about helping children learn to write from from The Artful Parent!



By |2011-09-08T06:00:05+00:00September 8th, 2011|

About the Author:

Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. has been working and teaching in the field of early childhood education for over 30 years. Deborah currently owns and teaches in her own part-time, private preschool called The Children’s Studio. Deborah’s deep passion for teaching and working with young children is documented and then graciously shared with millions of readers around the world through her blog and other social networking communities. Deborah believes that young children learn best through play and exploration and embraces this belief in all that she does in her own classroom so that she can effectively and passionately share rewarding, real- life, tried-and-true practices with other teachers, parents, and leaders across the field of early childhood education.


  1. Brenna September 8, 2011 at 7:37 am - Reply

    Love these different writing methods. I’ve done shaving cream before. I’m gonna try Paint in bags now. Thanks.

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. September 8, 2011 at 8:56 pm - Reply

      Have fun with it Brenna!

  2. Kristi @ Creative Connections for Kids September 8, 2011 at 8:16 am - Reply

    Good morning Deborah,
    Thank you for featuring Creative Connections for Kids. As always, I so appreciate all of the resources you share!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. September 8, 2011 at 8:56 pm - Reply

      You are welcome Kristi:)

  3. Amber September 8, 2011 at 8:35 am - Reply

    Those look like gel bags. Our kiddos always love those. Perhaps you used clear gel and added coloring? I typically just purchased colored gel but the colors are limited so thanks for the idea!

    Yesterday we used our sand tray. They love this. I added a lines sheet. You can see the picture on my blog. The children also enjoy “bundles”, crayons and markers work best but colored pencils also work. We rubberband them together to create rainbow crayons/markers. Large pieces of paper up on the wall allows for full arm movement and exploration. They also enjoy using washable markers on coffee filters and then spraying with a water bottle. Since we are in the home setting we have a sliding glass door…can be done at a window the children can reach…but they LOVE to use the washable markers right on the glass. We also create lines with sidewalk chalk and use a bucket of water/paint brush for each child to “erase”… so it’s a double the practice. I also find that dry erase markers on “mazes” in a binder (putting the mazes inside of sheet protectors) also leads to a lot of smiles…and they love erasing when they are done!

    I look forward to your blog each day. Thanks!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. September 8, 2011 at 8:57 pm - Reply

      You are full of ideas Amber!! I love them all and will have to share them all with my class. Oh my, how will I fit it all in:)

  4. Stephanie Olliges September 8, 2011 at 8:38 am - Reply

    We like writing in rice, but I guess that would be with our fingers as well. 🙂 Paint brushes! My kids love paint. Ruby (Tot) has been using paintbrushes since she could hold them. She loves paint! LOL!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. September 8, 2011 at 8:58 pm - Reply

      Yes – we paint just about every day on our easel. Painting is definitely a tool for writing!

  5. Mommy Cameron September 8, 2011 at 9:00 am - Reply

    My boys love to use our Magna Doodles and our white boards. They can take the Magna Doodles anywhere and since I have to watch the dry erase markers, they are a special treat.

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. September 8, 2011 at 8:58 pm - Reply

      I need to get me a set of magnadoodles – we don’t have any!

  6. Savannah September 8, 2011 at 9:10 am - Reply

    Some great ideas 🙂 We right with dry erase markers and crayons (we have crayola dry erase activity boards, white boards, and i put workbook pages in plastic sleeves, and sidewalk paint too.

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. September 8, 2011 at 8:59 pm - Reply

      Those crayola dry erase markers are awesome!

  7. Little Wonders' Days September 8, 2011 at 10:21 pm - Reply

    This is such a timely post for us. We do a lot of fine motor work and use various writing materials. You’ve listed several that we haven’t tried, but I am excited to add to our list. My question is what age do you try teaching kids how to write letters? My oldest had/has a fine motor delay that has made this a struggle for him and I’m super nervous about starting my younger two (it’s probably why I try to do so much fine motor work and pre writing activities at home). My daughter seems very interested in writing, but I’m worried it’s too soon. Thanks!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. September 9, 2011 at 12:02 am - Reply

      I introduce fine motor muscle building very early – like cutting play dough because this helps them build the physical skills and eye-hand coordination needed for writing. Keep writing creative – don’t worry about letters and shapes – just let them take that finger and draw any way they want on the sensory bag or easel. Start with building fine motor strength and control then you can gradually begin introducing symbols into their experience. Some of my fours are still at the stage of just needing to play with materials that replicate the writing process and others are at the stage where they want to see those letters! Open ended writing processes allow for both extremes.

      • Little Wonders' Days September 11, 2011 at 1:03 pm

        Thanks Deborah, this reply was helpful. I think I will hold off on teaching her any letters and let her continue to doodle…using some fun new ideas from here of course!

  8. andiejaye September 9, 2011 at 10:00 am - Reply

    my bear loves the crayola window markers! sometimes we spend a whole hour just doing them…((he’s just turned 3, so you know what a feat that is!)) q-tips are another fun one to write and draw with!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. September 9, 2011 at 2:45 pm - Reply

      Oh – we love the crayola window markers here too!

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