Cereal taste-safe Montessori pre-writing tracing trays promote motor skills and coordination while stimulating tactile sense and indirectly preparing a hand for future writing.
Learning to write is a gradual process that doesn’t happen overnight. So, before children can form letters, they need to practice using writing tools and making basic strokes to develop motor skills necessary later to learn a pencil grip. And with this taste-safe cereal tracing tray, a toddler practices pre-writing lines and curves, which is the foundation for future writing.
Cereal Taste-Safe Tracing Tray
Thus, before your child learns to hold a pen or a pencil, they need sufficient motor control and hand strength to attempt free tracing of pre-writing strokes. By tracing with a finger, they are triggering a tactile sense while also learning left-to-right progression and strengthening the small muscles of the hands. By setting up inviting sensory tracing trays where a child can practice pre-writing strokes, they are getting plenty of opportunities to practice fine motor control.
You’ll Need to Make Cereal Taste-Safe Tracing Tray
- a tray (11 x 8 rectangle plastic white tray or bamboo tray) ~ make sure a tray does not have openings for handles to prevent the filler from spilling out)
- tracing strips ~ these strips are part of the Halloween 80+ page printable pack
- chopsticks (optional) to make a DIY stand
- cereal (you can use stale or expired to prevent food waste)
- a food processor
He does it with his hands, by experience, first in play and then through work. The hands are the instruments of man’s intelligence!Dr. Montessori.
Also, with pre-writing sensory trays, children are learning left-to-right progression, which is a valuable skill that sometimes goes unnoticed. Granted, left-to-right progression is natural to adults, but it is not intuitive to small children. Thus, a lot has to happen in their developing brain to move objects with hands, as well as move eyes from left to right. Practicing left-to-right progression is crucial since this is how we read and write in English.
Tips and Hacks:
- To laminate, you can use an iron instead of a laminating machine. (I am using these thermal laminating pouches). Instructions: set your iron at a low temperature, as if you would iron silk. To be safe, place plain paper over the laminating sheet and iron over it.
- Alternatively, you can use sheet protectors and insert your pages into it, and then use a dry-erase marker.
- Cut corners can be pointy, so I am using a corner rounder.
- For a quicker and more precise straight cutting, I am using a paper trimmer instead of scissors.
- See rainbow dot markers here or similar on Amazon here.
If you think of it, lines and curves form letters and numbers. And generally, the very first line your child masters is a vertical line. Then, a child learns to trace or write curves in a circle and, finally, a slanted line. Moreover, a child undergoes four stages of writing.
- Stage 1: (15 months to 2½ years) Random Scribbling.
- Stage 2: (18 months to 3 years). Controlled Scribbling where a child makes repeated marks on the page—open circles, curved, diagonal, horizontal, or vertical lines. Next, children transition to holding a crayon or marker between their thumb and pointer finger.
- Stage 3:(2½ years to 3½ years) Lines and Patterns. Having gained an understanding that writing is made up of lines and curves, children start writing might include lines, dots, and curves. While they may not write actual letters, they start writing the components of letters.
- Stage 4:(3 years to 5 years) Pictures of Objects or People.
- Stage 5: (3 to 5 years) Letter and Word Practice.
Thus, starting at about 18 months, a child might start practicing controlled scribbling. Toddlers may make repeated marks on the page—open circles, diagonal, curved, horizontal, or vertical lines. Over time, children make the transition to holding the crayon or marker between their thumb and pointer finger! During this transition, you can encourage following lines/strokes on a Montessori tracing tray!
Have you ever set up Cereal Taste-Safe Tracing Trays? Leave a comment1
For More Halloween Activities …
See here for a Halloween Printable Pack.
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