Recently, a mom of a five (soon to be six) year-old boy wrote and asked for advice getting her son to practice writing. She said he “refuses to write, draw, color, much of anything with a writing instrument.”
Here’s my advice:
At that age I wouldn’t push it at all. You want him to have a sense of ownership over his learning and not turn it into a battle.
That said, here are some fun things to offer up…
- “Write” in fun ways like in lotion spread on a cookie sheet or coffee grounds.
- Use play dough or bread stick dough to make letter shapes.
- Use a Magna Doodle and take turns writing in it.
- Give him a white crayon to write on a white paper (letters, numbers, his name, whatever) and then let him paint over it with watercolor paint to make the invisible letters magically appear.
- See if he’d like to type on the computer.
- Get some little white board pads with erasable pens.
- Go along with his desires for you to write and write whatever he wants (he’ll still learn and it will take out the battle element of it all).
- Use magnet letters and other manipulatives to write out words.
- Make up a pile of mini books and leave them in baskets and on tables with some little pencils so he can make up his own stories and books.
- Show him how to use sticks to draw in the sand, dirt or (soon enough) snow.
- Give him a little notepad and ballpoint to play detective (let him write/draw/scribble whatever he wants in it). There is something about miniature notebooks that many kids find irresistible!
Keep it fun and keep the ball in his court, and eventually he’ll take it up. Remember, you have plenty of time!
This article originally appeared on examiner.com.