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5 Ways to Encourage Preschool Writing through Play

Getting children to go to the Preschool Writing Center isn’t the easiest task, is it? The appeal just isn’t there. I’m guessing it’s because the idea of writing is complicated for kids. Just to sit down, figure out what to write and then figure out how to write it can be really overwhelming. Plus, many times when going to the writing center there is no meaningful reason to write – there isn’t a need.

So, what’s a preschool teacher to do when getting children to the writing center is such a chore? We could take the writing out of the center… We could also make our writing center more appealing… both great options for encouraging writing through play!

When it comes to upping my writing game through play, I’ve found 5 sure-fire ways and I want to share them with you!

  1. The Drama Center: think about it… pretend play lends itself VERY well to meaningful writing. Are children pretending to take orders at a cafe? Add a mini clipboard and an order form or just blank paper and watch the writing magic happen. Have a pretend office? Add sticky notes, notebooks, and calendars and you will see meaningful writing through play happening all around you. All it takes is us adding the opportunity for writing right into the Drama Center. Want to see all the Dramatic Play Themes I use?

2. The Science Center: Okay, hear me out! Lots of writing can go on when we explore and experiment. Scientists recording their findings after all. We use trays in our science centers, where each tray has a different activity. Many times there is at least one tray in our science theme that allows for recording information or findings onto paper. Check out the photos below where children can draw what they see. Learn more about Science Center Trays here.

3. Hunt or Write the Room: What better way to get children engaged with writing or mark-making than with a hunt. Not only does this activity encourage writing, but it also get children up and moving. By using a clipboard with a hunt page attached and by hanging hunt cards around the room a fun, engaging learning activity, that includes writing, can be had! Learn more about how to use Hunt the Room here.

4. Writing Invitations: I was looking for a way to make my Writing Center more inviting without requiring a prompt that has to be done. I wanted it to be open-ended, optional yet engaging. I was able to accomplish this by using Writing Invitations. But, the real secret sauce is introducing and hyping up the Writing Invitations during Whole Group (game-changer I tell you). Learn more about Writing Invitations here.

5. Book Making: I was introduced to Book Making from the book Already Ready by Katie Wood Ray and Matt Glover (affiliate link). I was intrigued and excited about the amazing things children can learn by putting their thoughts and ideas into drawings in a book. I found with modeling bookmaking through whole group first, children start to understand how to craft a story or communicate their thoughts. And by providing book templates in the writing center – this love of book-making takes off.

While integrating writing into the preschool classroom can be a challenge, that doesn’t mean it isn’t possible. I hope the ideas I have shared with you give you some inspiration for bringing more meaningful writing into your day through play!

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I love helping preschool teachers be the best they can be, by providing quality resources and sharing fun ideas!

If you’re looking for play-based learning ideas, free trainings and all things preschool – you are in the right place!