How to Use Christmas to Encourage Writing

How to use the Christmas holiday season to encourage young children and their early writing attempts from beginning mark making to formulating a letter to Santa.

Before children begin to write, they make lines and circles. They scribble, they make marks and as their pencil control grows so does their awareness that these marks can help them communicate with others. They begin to understand that mark making can be an effective way to share their thoughts and feelings with the people around them. 
It's a crucial step in a child's early development.
Their first step towards writing.
There are many different types of mark making invitations that can be created in the classroom or at home to encourage a child's efforts and Christmas time is the perfect opportunity to get your child writing!

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How to Use Christmas to Encourage Writing - why mark making is important to writing development along with 20 different ideas to encourage mark making at Christmas time to help young children develop their writing skills | you clever monkey

WHY IS MARK MAKING IMPORTANT? 

By supporting a child's first attempts at writing, we are helping them to develop the skills that will help them later on at school. 
Mark making builds a child's hand-eye co-ordination and fine motor skills enabling them to build up the muscle control in their fingers and hands in order to be able to hold and control a pencil.
It also can also help encourage a child's imagination and creativity remembering that mark making create opportunities for our children to express themselves in different ways. Instead of relying on verbal communication, children can now draw, write and tell stories through play.

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HOW TO USE CHRISTMAS TO ENCOURAGE MARK MAKING

Christmas is the perfect time to encourage young children's early writing efforts. There are many ways to do this and we've come up with a list of Christmas-y mark making prompts for you to try this holiday season with your children.

WRITE TO SANTA

This writing invitation is an obvious one. Pre reading books like The Jolly Christmas Postman or Pig the Elf can help set the scene. There are some gorgeous Christmas writing paper available. We love Picklebums Christmas writing set!

MAKE WRAPPING PAPER

Use stamps to decorate some plain paper. You can grab some Christmas themed stamps from lots of places. Or use some Christmas cookie cutters and stamp them in paint to create your own stamp.

CREATE YOUR OWN POST OFFICE

Role play is always a perfect way to encourage mark making. Create a post office with paper, pens, stamps, envelopes, cheap Christmas cards, labels, wrapping paper along with bows and ribbons. Supply some small boxes to wrap and you'll be guaranteed hours of busy play.

DECORATE A CHRISTMAS TREE

Print out a simple Christmas tree outline for children to decorate with small stickers. We just used some plain colour spots for ours but pulling off the stickers from their backing paper and then placing them on the tree encourages the pincer grip needed for more formal handwriting later.

Or instead of stickers use push pins to poke holes along the printed lines. Flip it over when finished and place in front of a window to let the light stream through the picture.


How to Use Christmas to Encourage Writing - why mark making is important to writing development along with 20 different ideas to encourage mark making at Christmas time to help young children develop their writing skills | you clever monkey

Or use one of our FREE Christmas tree mats and add sequins, bells, beads or buttons to decorate them. You can grab a copy of the four different printable mats from here.

How to Use Christmas to Encourage Writing - why mark making is important to writing development along with 20 different ideas to encourage mark making at Christmas time to help young children develop their writing skills | you clever monkey

MAKE CHRISTMAS LABELS 

Create some small labels from some lightweight card for your children to decorate and then on the reverse, write 'to' and 'from'. 

BREAK OUT THE PLAY DOUGH

At this time of year, I like to add some Christmas smells to our play dough. Add some ground ginger, cinnamon, mixed spice and brown food colouring to create some gingerbread play dough or mix make red and white play dough with a dash of peppermint flavour for something sweeter. 

Working with play dough is excellent for developing the fine motor skills need to hold a pencil.

DESIGN A BAUBLE

Have your children design and then make their own bauble to hang on the tree. You can buy some plain coloured baubles to draw on or you can grab some clear baubles to decorate inside and out. Sharpies work really well on most surfaces. 

PRINTABLE PROMPTS

We have loved using these printable prompts from Adventure in a Box. Just add pencils, markers, paints or laminate them to add to your play dough table.


How to Use Christmas to Encourage Writing - why mark making is important to writing development along with 20 different ideas to encourage mark making at Christmas time to help young children develop their writing skills | you clever monkey

MAKE PLACEMATS OR PLACE CARDS

Involve your children in helping to decorate the Christmas table by making place mats for everyone. My three children had a blast making place mats for our extended family a few years ago when we were hosting Christmas.

MAKE CHRISTMAS CRACKERS

You can buy DIY Christmas crackers or bon-bon sets to make. Children can draw pictures or paint Christmas scenes to wrap around the crackers. We also created and decorated Christmas hats for inside our crackers.

STEM CHRISTMAS TREE CHALLENGE

We've already established how important fine motor skills are to helping develop a child's early writing. Create a Christmas tree building challenge with some corks for tree trunks and green buttons in varying sizes to try and stack on top of the corks to create some mini Christmas trees. This activity is a great one for building hand-eye co-ordination and spatial awareness.

DECORATE A GINGERBREAD HOUSE

And no, this doesn't require any baking or sugary lollies! A cardboard box can be turned into just about anything and is the perfect base to create and decorate your own gingerbread house. Draw your design on the house and then add plenty of sparkly stickers to decorate!

How to Use Christmas to Encourage Writing - why mark making is important to writing development along with 20 different ideas to encourage mark making at Christmas time to help young children develop their writing skills | you clever monkey

CREATE A MAP FOR SANTA

Sometimes landing that sleigh can be tricky! Have your children help Santa by drawing him a map of where to land and how to best enter the house along with the all so important information - where to leave any presents.

CHRISTMAS CONCERT TIME

Christmas time in Australia is also when our school year finishes ahead of our long summer break. This means end of year concerts are also a thing at most schools. Have your students write out invitations for their families to attend. Or if you have extend family nearby, have your children write to invite them.

MAKE SOME CHRISTMAS SIGNS

Grab some paints and some cardboard and create your own 'Santa Stop Here' sign or 'Days to Christmas' countdown.

MAKE CHRISTMAS WINDOW ART

One for older children, these fake stained glass art were fun to create last Christmas and require strong fingers to hold a ruler down to make the straight lines that make these geometric Christmas designs pop. You'll be amazed at what we use as our canvas and yet you probably have it in your pantry right now.


How to Use Christmas to Encourage Writing - why mark making is important to writing development along with 20 different ideas to encourage mark making at Christmas time to help young children develop their writing skills | you clever monkey

MAKE YOUR OWN CHRISTMAS CARDS

These can be as simple or as elaborate as your child wants. Your child can simply write their name in pre-made cards or could create their own from scratch.

CREATE A CHRISTMAS WRITING TRAY

Using the same spices you use to create your gingerbread play dough, add them to some plain flour to create your own writing tray. Children will delight in writing with their finger or add a candy cane for them to 'write' with.

USE CHRISTMAS TALES AS INSPIRATION


Use traditional tales to inspire new writing. We used 'The 12 Days of Christmas' as our inspiration to create our own localised verison. There were cricket stumps and yabbies nipping, Tim Tams eaten and a jar of Vegemite for me.

MAKE A MESSY WRITING TRAY

Don't mind messy? Add some shaving foam together with some drops of red food colouring onto a large tray or tabletop (that won't stain) to invite your children to make their mark. You can always add some peppermint flavouring to fill their senses. 

CREATE A WINTERY SMALL WORLD

We love Fun At Home With Kids Puffing Snow Recipe. It's a fun way to incorporate from early STEM into play. Add some glitter, some animals and you have a Wintery Wonderland ready for some imaginative play.

How to Use Christmas to Encourage Writing - why mark making is important to writing development along with 20 different ideas to encourage mark making at Christmas time to help young children develop their writing skills | you clever monkey

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1 comment

  1. So many great ideas. thanks for sharing :) Pinning this and sharing ..

    ReplyDelete

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