Children learn to crawl before they walk. They learn to walk before they can run. They learn to run before they can leap. Learning to crawl is an essential stepping stone in learning to walk. Just waking up one day and suddenly deciding to walk sounds tough and implausible.
Just like that, throwing the child into the deep end, handing them a pencil, and expecting them to write in one go is unrealistic. Stepping stones that can help them in their journey of eventually becoming independent writers are important.
Tracing is one such important stepping stone that helps students in learning how to hold a pencil, use it to make straight lines, curved edges, etc. improves their dexterity and motor coordination. Just like various worksheets are available for kindergarteners to help them with writing, similarly, this blog enlists various tracing activities, one among many other activities that can help kindergarteners in becoming self-sufficient writers.
Little learners tracing their way to writing
Kindergarteners are new to holding and using pens, pencils, colors, etc. Tracing activities, like the ones listed below, can help them focus on the use of these tools to draw, write effectively, and color.
1. Butterfly Wings
For this activity, the educator will have to prepare sheets with different lines in different patterns dotted on them. These lines can get progressively less dotted, starting from ‘- – -‘ to ending in ‘. . . .’ placed as further apart as the student can trace.
These worksheets can be easily made on Google docs, paint, or any other free writing or drawing tool that is available to you. The educator needs to be sure to place a butterfly on one end of the line and a flower on the other end. The task of the students then will be to complete the flying path of the butterflies by tracing different lines and helping them reach the flowers.
These worksheets will help students practice their dexterity. Knowing how to trace lines will eventually be helpful when the students have to trace them while writing letters and numbers.
2. Color time
For this activity, the educator will have to prepare a sheet full of different shapes with dotted outlines. These shapes should be different sizes, either just big and small or big, medium and small, depending on whatever is more suitable for the class.
The students will then be given independent worksheets and a set of colors. They will be instructed to trace the shapes, name them if they can, and then fill in the same color for shapes that have the same size.
This activity will not only help with learning how to trace but also act as a game that can help the kids revise the names of shapes and the concept of different sizes. The concept of shapes can further be taught to children using various free online games.
3. My beloved pet
For this activity, the educator will have to give every student a chance to share their favorite animal whom they would like to have as a pet. The list could range from dogs and cats to even penguins and sea lions.
Then, the educator will have to find easy ways to make these animals using basic shapes like circles, ovals, squares, rectangles, etc. The educator can then either prepare sheets with students’ animals dotted on them by hand-drawing or use computer software like MS Paint for the same. The students will then be given these sheets with their pet animals dotted on them. They will have to trace them with dots and then try to replicate the animals without dots by copying the shapes. Once they are drawn, they can color the animals and even name their pets.
This activity will help improve students’ freehand drawing skills gradually by first giving them trace lines and then giving them free space to draw shapes they know how to draw. This will also help them learn and revise about various animals of the world.
4. The highlight of the Day
For this activity, the students will have to mention one thing in their environment that is always a highlight for them. It could either be a flower, the sun, the moon, their house, etc.
They will then be given sheets with trace lining to draw these objects. The educator can once again either prepare these sheets by hand or use software like MS Paint to make them. The students can then trace and draw their favorite part of the day, color it, and put it up on the class bulletin board. They can then share with their class one thing they like the most about their highlight of the day.
This activity will not only help in improving students’ dexterity but will also include their personal preferences and experiences, which will help keep them engaged. They will also get an opportunity to speak in front of the class, which will further enhance several social skills.
5. A is for Apple
For this activity, the educator will have to prepare a worksheet with various letters written in dotted lines in both uppercase and lowercase. The sheet should also have different daily objects dotted on it as well like an apple, a ball, a cat, etc.
The students will randomly be assigned a letter and be given a worksheet associated with that letter. Their task then would be to first trace the letter on top of the sheet, then eventually write it without the assistance of any dotted lines. They will then have to trace different objects but the catch here is that they can only fill in the color of the object that starts with the letter assigned to them. For example, if a sheet with the letter R has a rock, a tree and a ball on it, the student can only color the rock.
This activity will not only help students trace alphabets and eventually learn how to write them without any assistance but also help them revise various objects that do and don’t start with different alphabets.
6. What’s my number
For this activity, the educator will have to get a bag full of number tiles ranging from 1 to 10 or 1 to 100, based on the level of the class.
Students will randomly come and pick a number tile from the bag. Whatever number they get, they will have to trace it on the board 5 times. Each trace will get progressively more difficult with dots placed further apart, and eventually, the student will have to write the 5th time with no dots to assist at all.
This game will help students gain confidence in their ability to trace and write numbers by successfully doing it on the board in front of the class. They will also have to identify the number they have written, so this will also be good practice and revision of their numbers and counting skills.
7. Capital or small?
For this activity, the educator will have to prepare a worksheet with different letters of the alphabet written in both uppercase and lowercase.
The students will then be given two different watercolor pots. Their task will be to dip their fingers in the watercolor pot and use their fingers to trace the capital or the uppercase letters with one color and the small or lowercase ones with a different color.
This activity will help students identify the difference between uppercase and lowercase letters which will be important when they eventually start writing words and sentences. Tracing and painting with their hands will give them the tactile feel of the letter, hence, this will also serve as a tactile discrimination activity. This helps learners in differentiating between different letters and learning how to form them, which will further assist and inform their wrist movements.
8. Pick the pen
For this activity, the educator will have to write various small and common words on the board with dotted lines.
The students will be asked to come one by one and trace the word dotted on the board. The catch here will be that they will not be allowed to pick their pen up from the board until they are finished tracing the word completely. Whenever a student picks the pen, they will have to start all over again. The words will be changed for every student, and the teacher can even demonstrate how to trace and write the word without lifting the pen so that students can learn from observation.
This activity will help students trace complete words, which will be an important stepping stone in them eventually writing these words independently.
9. What’s my name?
For this activity, the educator will have to divide the students into random pairs. The task of the students then will be to get to know each other’s names.
Students will then write their own names in a sand pit, which their partners would have to trace and replicate twice in the sand pit as well. Once they have mastered tracing their partner’s name in the sand pit, the students can be given sheets where they can try to write the name using a pen or pencil. Eventually, the task of both students will be to write each other’s names without any dots and tracing.
This activity will help students trace full words, all while learning about their classmates and improving their social skills. Since students will be in charge of each other’s learning in this activity, it will help build various important skills like helping, cooperation, teamwork, sharing, etc. Writing in the sand will also give students a tactile feel of how the letters and the word is written. This will make it easier for them to replicate the same movements using their wrists while writing with a pen or pencil.
10. Pass the alphabet
For this activity, the educator will have to prepare a sheet with all the letters of the alphabet dotted on them.
The class will be asked to sit in a circle, and the sheet will be randomly passed to a student. The task of that student will be to trace the first letter, that is, A, and then name an object that starts with A, like an apple or an ant. Then the student will pass the sheet to the student sitting to their right, who will trace the next letter and name an object from that letter. The activity will go on till each student has had a chance to answer, and all the alphabet has been completed.
This activity will not only help students practice tracing the letters but also revise and learn from each other various words and objects that start from that letter.
Just like a child learns to crawl before they can walk, tracing is an important stepping stone in learning to write. Several tracing activities with kindergarten students can help in improving their dexterity, giving them full control of their hands and their movements and allowing them to use them to color, draw and write whatever they want. Tracing activities can either be conducted in the classroom, as the ones listed in the article above, or can even be played at home using online tracing games and apps.
I am Shweta Sharma. I am a final year Masters student of Clinical Psychology and have been working closely in the field of psycho-education and child development. I have served in various organisations and NGOs with the purpose of helping children with disabilities learn and adapt better to both, academic and social challenges. I am keen on writing about learning difficulties, the science behind them and potential strategies to deal with them. My areas of expertise include putting forward the cognitive and behavioural aspects of disabilities for better awareness, as well as efficient intervention. Follow me on LinkedIn