Need to revive flagging interest in your writing area? Wanting to make the most of this precious, preschool learning space? Don’t despair, today I’m sharing 25 super simple but absolutely fabulous playful ways to encourage a young child’s interest in letters and writing that work fabulously well in both preschool and kindergarten classrooms – as well as at home writing spaces.
But first, for those who are unsure, what is a Writing Area or Writing Centre?
A writing area or centre is a (generally small) permanent area within an early years classroom that includes a range of materials that encourage young children to experiment with pre-writing and writing behaviours. You will commonly find a writing area in play-based preschool and kindergarten classrooms, as well as in day care services.
What are the benefits of including a writing area within the classroom?
Ensuring writing materials are readily available to young children encourages them to engage in important pre-writing and early writing behaviours.
The addition of a range of supplementary materials (such as many of the ideas shared below) encourages children to see the purpose and importance of writing through the provision of many authentic and meaningful reasons to write.
I include a word of caution for those new to creating a writing area – do not include all of these ideas at once. Start out with the basics and rotate between the additional ideas as they apply to your early years setting, the age and development of the children and their current interests.
So what are the basic requirements for a writing area?
- An assortment of papers: different sizes and types of paper, some lined and some unlined
- An assortment of writing implements: lead pencils, coloured pencils, crayons and/or felt tipped marker pens
- Glue sticks
- Tape: colourful washi tape is especially fun
- Post-It notes come in lots of fun colours and shapes making them a great addition to any writing table.
- Alphabet stamps: Self-inking alphabet stamps or alphabet stamps that can be used with ink pads or pressed into playdough or clay.
- A printed list or set of photo cards including the children’s names is also a very valuable addition.
- Alphabet wall chart – this can be a commercial chart or one you make together with the children
25 More Fun Ideas for What to Put In Your
Preschool or Kindergarten Writing Area
3. Add card making materials such as small, pre-folded cards, collage materials and envelopes. This Christmas card making station is a great example.
4. Mini whiteboards with whiteboard markers and erasers.
5. Mini chalkboards with chalk and erasers.
6. Include a collection of small note pads.
7. Recycle your old Scrabble game to include a basket of letter tiles in your writing center.
8. Hang a reversible sequin board or add a reversible sequin cushion to the area.
9. Add old diaries or wall calendar pages.
10. Make an alphabet of tactile yarn wrapped letters from pipe cleaners/chenille stems or sticks.
11. Introduce a magnetic board and set of letters.
12. Add pads of blank birthday party invitations.
13. Alphabet stickers are great for pre-writers who are demonstrating interest in letter shapes and sounds and those who can spell recognisable words too.
14. Add alphabet beads with string or pipe cleaners/chenille stems to thread beads onto.
15. Fold and staple some blank paper pages to make book blanks for story writing.
16. Clipboards are a great way to encourage children to take their writing to wherever they need it – both within the classroom and outdoors. Tie on a pencil with a length of string to help keep supplies together. Check out our collection of outdoor literacy ideas here.
17. Add a small collection of junk mail catalogues – the children will find lots of interesting ways to use them, engaging them with purposeful reading and writing.
19. Print or photocopy maps of your local area to add to your writing center. Via Picklebums.
20. Make a salt tray by colouring a little salt with liquid food dye, then spread it to cover the base of a plastic or metal tray. Add a set of alphabet cards and invite children to form letters with their finger, a paintbrush, or a chopstick.
22. Add a set of Geometry Tools for children to explore. From Picklebums.
23. Leaves and metallic pens make a fabulous invitation for children to write letters to the fairies hiding in your garden. Via My Little Bookcase.
24. An alphabet box, word bank or word collection jar are all great ways to develop interest in letters and words. See an alphabet box example at Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds, a word bank via Zella Said Purple and a word collection jar in action at Imagination Soup.
25. A set of DIY silly sentence blocks is a great addition for early readers.