Painting Letters with Water – Letter Formation Activity
Start by drawing letters onto a chalk board (if your child is old enough they can do this part too). Give them a chunky paintbrush dipped in water. Let them trace over the chalk letters until they have ‘rubbed them out’.
This letter formation activity is great for those fine motor skills as well as learning letter shapes and practising handwriting.[
Time: 10 minutes
Ages: Toddlers and Little Kids
Difficulty to set up: Easy peasy
Skill: Letter formation and writing practice
You will need:
- Chalk board
- Paint brush
Step 1: Write Out Letters in Chalk
Write lower case letters out onto the chalk board. Make them big and clear so that your child can trace over them easily.
If you’re practising one letter in particular then you could write that one letter lots of times on the board. Alternatively, write out a really simple first word with 2 or 3 letters.
Here we’ve chosen ‘cat’.
Older children can try writing their own letters
Write out a word on a piece of card. Let your child try and copy that word onto the blackboard using chalk.
Step 2: Paint Letters With Water to Make Them ‘Disappear’
Once you’ve written your letters, let your child dip a paint brush in water. Now they have to trace over the chalk letters and make them disappear.
Practise sounding out the word
Before they start you might want to practise those letter sounds. Point to each letter and ask your child: ‘What sound does this letter make?’ You can sound them out together at first.
At the end you could try to combine or blend the sounds together to make the word. They won’t be able to do this themselves at first, but even hearing you do it for them is all good practise.
Step 3: Write Out the Word
Can your child ‘rub out’ all the letters in the word by painting over them with water?
Remind them where to start each letter so that they can trace over it correctly.
Step 4: Practise Writing More Words
Once your child has rubbed out all the chalk letters with water, you can start again. Write different words on the board.
We chose ‘bat’ so that it rhymed with ‘cat’. You could choose different rhyming words to work through so that sounding them out is a little bit easier. Some ideas are:
net, set, bet
dog, log, hog
pig, dig, fig
bun, fun, sun.
Once again your child has to trace over the chalk letters with water to make them disappear. They’ll concentrate so that they can follow the lines close enough to rub them out.
Step 5: Use This Activity to Practice ‘Tricky Letters’
Is your child writing their ‘s’ letters backwards? Or maybe their ‘j’ letters are going the wrong way? It’s very common for children to write certain letters back to front. You can use this activity to practise forming letters that they may be getting wrong:
- Write out the same letter, many times on the chalkboard and let them practise tracing over them.
- Make a letter search. Write out a lot of different lower case letters on the chalkboard. Include a few of the letters that they often get wrong. Ask them to spot the letters you want them to practise on the board. When they do they can paint over it to make it as ‘done’.
Often, we don’t know where to start when it comes to writing those first letters. Our children might do it once but what then? How do we help them to practise and make it fun?
Here they an enjoy tracing colourful letters, rubbing them out and in the process learn their shapes and formations. They’ll be building up their ‘muscle memory’ too which will help them when they come to writing on paper. And – best of all – it’s great fun.
We tested this activity out on preschoolers and the ones who tried it all loved it. They kept asking to do more! Why not give it a go today?