Last year T was finding number formation quite a challenge. She had just turned five, so I wasn’t worried about it, but it was frustrating her as she wanted to get it right!
I wanted to come up with some simple, fun ways to help her practise this skill. There are innumerable worksheets you can find online for this sort of thing – tracing dots, copying rows of numbers – and these have their place. However, one of the problems with these kind of worksheets is that they often don’t allow children much space to write. Even though the numbers are ‘large’ by print standards, they are rarely more than about three centimetres tall. It adds an unnecessary challenge – your child is already trying to focus on forming the letter correctly, and this requires them to split their focus to work on controlling the scale of their movements, too.
So we decided to take it outside with simple chalk number formation activity! I simply used chalk to write numbers up to twenty on our tuff spot. If you don’t have tuff spot, you could just as easily do it on a pavement or wall. Then I called out a number and T painted it away with water, focusing on forming the numbers correctly! It also helped to develop her number recognition – she knew numbers to ten but struggled with the teens.
You could easily adapt this activity to work on letter formation rather than numbers. Or for a younger child, why not try drawing lots of different lines – zigzags, wavy lines, spirals? Being able to create different kinds of line is an essential pre-writing skill.
If you don’t have chalk to hand, there are lots of ways alternative ways you could practise this skill! Put some salt or sand in a tray and practise forming the numbers with a finger or a brush. Or draw the number on large sheets of paper and ask your child to trace them using loose parts!