Prep: 5 Minutes / Activity Time: 5-10 Minutes

A child who starts writing and drawing first may start reading earlier. Drawing and writing help your child express her thoughts visually and begin learning how to represent the sounds of words through written letters. The beginning stages of writing include drawing. It is typical for children to create stories by drawing pictures first. This activity encourages you to start a file for your child’s writing to show progress over time.

  • variety of writing instruments
  • writing paper
  • file or folder

Step 1: Create a file, folder or notebook of your child’s attempts at writing.

Step 2:  Label and date each drawing you keep to help you see your child’s progress over time. What may begin as scribbles or marks will eventually turn into letters and finally words.  

Step 3: Invite your child to tell you about her drawing and write down what she says on a sticky note and include it with your child’s drawing. It is fun to look back and read the things that your child was thinking about.


Step 1: Create a fun-time, no-pressure zone for writing.  

Step 2: Don’t worry about your child holding a pencil or crayon the “correct” way right now. Three-year-olds are still developing the muscles needed in their hands and fingers to hold a pencil/crayon correctly.


Step 1: Provide more opportunities for your child to draw/write.  

Step 2: Encourage your child to draw pictures for shopping lists, draw pictures to send to friends and relatives, or instructions on how to play a game.

Step 3: Just as you would read aloud to your child, you can also write out loud. When you write and draw, you can model for your child by talking about what you are writing and describing the shapes, colors and pictures you draw.