What to do with this activity?
It's very satisfying to be able to make an imprint using a hard object pressed into something soft. You can make the same pattern over and over again.
Use playdough and whatever you have to hand. You can buy specially made stamps in shapes that make interesting marks. Or find objects around your home that you can experiment with and ask "what shape will this make if I press it in?". Try keys, coins, forks, biscuit cutters, plastic toys, plastic bottle caps or whatever else you can find. Let your child make interesting patterns on pastry or biscuit dough (you can buy these ready-made in the shops if you are not a great cook) and eat the results.
Try making imprints when you are on the beach - show your child how to press their hand into the sand to make a hand print. Notice how your feet make foot prints in the sand.
Why am I doing this?
There are at least four stages in learning to write. The first is movement - your child learning to control their body and their hands - reaching, feeling and holding things - is part of this first stage.
The second stage is making marks - seeing that if you put this crayon here and move it, it makes a mark.
Drawing is a third stage.
The fourth then is learning how to make letters and later words.
For your child, the more they are aware about how useful writing is, the better. Seeing you writing is great and you pointing out other people writing will help them see how useful it is too.
How can I do more?
It’s always good to keep crayons and paper close at hand, so that you can give them to your child anytime to play with.
Write words under your child’s drawing – like their name or what they have drawn – that will help them understand the meaning of words.
Later you could clip 10 or 12 of these drawings together to make a book. This will show your child how books can be made.
Let your child see you writing – notes, lists, letters and emails. If you don't write much yourself, show your child other people writing when you are out and about.
Encourage your child to use ‘pretend’ writing in play - writing their own name, notices or price lists. You could even give them a little notebook when you go to the shops or when they’re playing ‘shop’ with their friends.
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