Tracing letters, numbers, and shapes on the flannel board

There are so many creative and fun ways to introduce tracing letters, shapes, and numbers around the classroom without ever setting out a worksheet. Where I can find alternative, hands-on ways for my students to practice skills, such as tracing, I get all excited and run with it…

Tracing on the Flannel Board by Teach Preschool

This idea may look very simple, and it is, but it has been one of the best tools for giving my students a little practice in tracing letters or shapes (we haven’t tried it with numbers yet) in my classroom…

Tracing on the Flannel Board by Teach Preschool

For shape tracing we use our large DIY flannel board so I can talk with the group about the shape. For tracing letters, we use our  small flannel board (we call them lap boards) for tracing…

Tracing on the Flannel Board by Teach Preschool

To prepare, I simply create my own dot-to-dot or dotted-lined letter by sticking small pieces of colored masking tape to my flannel board. I never leave the tape on longer than a few days so it doesn’t leave a sticky residue and I only use an easy-to-remove tape like masking or painters tape…

Tracing on the Flannel Board by Teach Preschool

This process lends itself to making upper or lowercase letters anytime you want. It is easy to switch up anytime too. I’ve been focusing more on the uppercase with this process since I have other processes that focus on lowercase around the classroom…

Tracing on the Flannel Board by Teach Preschool

We don’t spend a lengthy amount of time on this process. For us, it is a quick part of our morning routine that takes just a few minutes. While my weather person is drawing the weather, my students pass the board around the circle and trace it with a finger…

Tracing on the Flannel Board by Teach Preschool

The board can be left out during the day for more tracing and one could add a variety of tools for tracing like a pencil with no led, a straw, or other tool that a child can hold. So far, we just use our finger to give the children the idea of tracing a shape along with a little practice in the skills of tracing…

TTracing on the Flannel Board by Teach Preschool

I also invite the children to say the name of the letter or make the sound of the letter but still remain very casual about the process. The children talk with each other or with me as the tracing board makes its way around the circle…

Tracing on the Flannel Board by Teach Preschool

Available on Amazon

Links to Grow On

DIY Make Your Own Flannel Board by Teach Preschool

10 Fun Ways to Use a Flannel Board by Teach Preschool

Felt Fun Ideas on Pinterest!

By |2016-03-02T07:00:04+00:00March 2nd, 2016|

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. Paula March 2, 2016 at 7:41 am - Reply

    Hi Deborah,
    I love many of your activities and posts; thanks for sharing what goes on in your program!

    Could you give me some more information on why you have kids tracing letters? Are there particular skills or objectives that you’re working toward with that? Also, do you ever have a child that is completely uninterested in it and passes it on during circle without tracing it? If so, do you care and/or how do you handle that?


    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. March 2, 2016 at 9:28 pm - Reply

      Well in our case, the children love to take a turn at anything we pass around the circle. It might be because it is the only focus of the moment but no one has passed on the opportunity. However, if they were to pass, I wouldn’t worry about it. There are many ways to encourage writing and so we will look for what works. As for why? I find that when I was just using visuals or even actions, the children were not fully processing or internalizing the letter. Instead, they would simply remember the action or the sound of the letter but not really focus on the symbol itself. So for my prek class, that I think need some foundation in letter recognition before heading off to kindergarten, I found that this process slows everyone down a bit to really look over that letter in an interesting way. They will often discuss the letter with me as we pass the board around the circle. “This letter is in my name?” “What is the name of this letter again?” “I like to draw the letter this way.” “This letter looks kind of like an ‘O’.

      I hope that helps!

      • Paula March 2, 2016 at 10:05 pm

        It does, thank you!

  2. Margaret@YTherapySource March 2, 2016 at 8:36 am - Reply

    Love this idea for tracing shapes and letters. First of all look at the size = kinesthetic feedback. The colored tape on the flannel provides tactile feedback. Way better than picking up a pencil!!!!

  3. Barbara March 2, 2016 at 9:20 am - Reply

    I love this idea! I would probably do a solid line rather than a dotted line, as I think it gives a less confusing visual cue. The “Handwriting Without Tears” teacher manual has some interesting thoughts about using solid lines rather than dotted lines for preschool tracing. But I love the idea of the colored tape on the flannel board! Thanks for all of your great ideas.

  4. Carol Holets March 2, 2016 at 11:12 am - Reply

    Love this idea! You may also want to consider showing where to start tracing by adding a sticker or a different color of tape.

  5. Wendy, Vermont March 2, 2016 at 7:18 pm - Reply

    Why have I not thought of this? I love flannel boards! This is a great idea that I will start using in my classroom.

    I have two DIY boards that are actually a piece of felt on the inside of a cookie sheet (spray adhesive on the felt to make it stick). This makes one side a felt board, one side a magnetic board. Double duty and easy to store.

  6. Lucinda Hawes March 24, 2016 at 9:22 am - Reply

    Thank you for your post. I teach a 4 -5 year old group in Cape Town. Not too long ago I attended a pre-writing workshop which explained the pre-writing strokes ( / | – + x ). We also discussed that it was better to use a broken line for tracing instead of a dotted line. The beginning points and ending points were shown with a green dot (go/ START) and a red dot (STOP)respectively. I love the idea of the big board as well as the smaller boards. Need to get that up and running in my classroom in the new term.

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