Montessori Writing Practice for Toddlers

Our daughter is 3.5 years old and has a couple of pen pals. Of course, she cannot write legibly at this point, but desperately wants to be able to complete the correspondence herself. She is lacking control of her fine motor skills. To begin to develop these muscles and help her gain coordination, we have been practicing writing letters.


To Practice writing letters, we don’t use trace templates or fancy dry erase boards. Rather, I draw out the letters we are going to work on for the day on a simple sheet of paper (usually in sharpie so they are hard to scribble over) and she begins trying to copy them. They are usually in a progression to form a full word, like so:



 Here are the rules we follow when doing this activity.

  1. The toddler is in control.
    •  Mommy and Daddy definitely have strong urges to help guide her hands and make the process easier and less frustrating, but doing so defeats the purpose of the exercise.
    1. Frustration ends the exercise
      • If the toddler is becoming overly frustrated, we steer her away from the activity to be resumed later. The last thing we want is for her to have negative associations with learning.
      1. High praise for effort.
        • We try to avoid the phrases that praise intellect and talent, rather praising effort. There are lots of theories on why this is good that I won’t weigh in on, but effort is never a bad thing to praise.
        1. No Time Limit.
          • Rushing through this makes it less enjoyable and can introduce bad vibes into project. Learning is fun, that is what we want to convey
          1. Play Time after.
            • After a serious bout of concentration we let our daughter get a little mental reprieve by doing a little physical activity. Usually tag or hide and seek.

            That’s it. Simple, effective and hugely beneficial to your toddler’s fine motor skills and path to being able to read. Here is the final product: