Some point during the preschool years with most children it suddenly clicks that marks on a page have meaning, that these are words and words are made up of letters and these letters anyone can write. We’re suddenly at that stage with T and she wants to write letters, words and it’s constant. Getting good letter formation and the shapes of the letters is so important, J taught himself how to form letters and we’re now into our second year of un-teaching and re-teaching him how to correctly form letters so as to make the progress to cursive writing easier. T on the other hand wants to learn by copying, tracing, us helping her and watching – one her favourite activities from the summer was letter writing in the air and we now will lay on our bed and write letters in the air. With feathers being this weeks topic for the playful preschool team I decided to use feathers to write with and practice letter shapes, letters and patterns.

Feather writing, practising the shapes that make letters and starting to form letters with young children

Materials needed

Feathers – real or fake it doesn’t matter
Salt
Tray

Learning objectives for feather writing

We’re working on letter formation so my objectives were to practice the components of letters as well as some of the letters that we have learnt to write using a different method.

This could easily be adapted for children at different levels though – children who are yet to show letter recognition could work on the shapes that form letters, see our salt tray work with fingers for ideas. For children who have letter recognition work on getting the letters formed correctly (we are between these two stages so combining them) – with children who are working on reading then use the salt tray for spelling or sight word recognition.

Preparation for feather writing

Very little preparation needed, I added salt to our tray and placed a few feathers on the tray.

Feather writing, practising the shapes that make letters and starting to form letters with young children

Feather writing

We started off with a discussion on which end of the feather to use – this was great to introduce some science language – quill and vane – the quill being the shaft of the feather and the vane being the feathery parts (this was enough knowledge for now!). T initially made marks in the salt tray using the vane of the feather, but when she had made the marks we examined them and she pointed out that they looked like paint brush marks and not the writing marks on the page. She then switched to using the quill end of the feather for writing.

Feather writing, practising the shapes that make letters and starting to form letters with young children

The feather was a good tool to use for pre-writing, she has a tendency to hold pens and pencils quite high up but with the soft downey feathers at the base I was able to get her to hold the feather in a good grip to make the marks.

We started off with some shapes that form letters – lines, circles, diagonals and waves. I would draw in one corner what I wanted her to mimic and then she would draw in the main part of the tray.

Feather writing, practising the shapes that make letters and starting to form letters with young children

She is great at writing her own name now – so we worked on letters in her name T being the first.

Feather writing, practising the shapes that make letters and starting to form letters with young children

I am working on introducing letters with her name first and then through the Jolly Phonics method of introduction as this is complementary to what she is doing in preschool and will be doing at school come September. So we worked on the “s”.

Feather writing, practising the shapes that make letters and starting to form letters with young children

Other ideas for feathers.

Name Activities: Feather Letter Turkey by Growing Book by Book

Turkey Learning Games by The Educators’ Spin On It

Textured Turkey Feathers Pre-Writing Activity for #PlayfulPreschool by The Preschool Toolbox

Turkey Geoboard by Still Playing School

Counting Feathers Sticky Wall by Mom Inspired Life

Fine Motor Turkey Math by Fun-A-Day!

Quick & Easy Color Feather Sort by Powerful Mothering

Make Pretty Feather Window Clings-a tutorial by Capri +3

Toilet Roll Turkey by Tiny Tots Adventures

Writing with Feathers by Rainy Day Mum

Author
Cerys Parker

Cerys is a marine biologist, environmental educator, high school teacher and mum. Realising that life doesn't have to be put on hold and you don't just have to survive whilst the kids are young she shares ideas to inspire you to LIVE with the kids, with activities to do together, recipes to cook and enjoy and family travel to make memories to last a lifetime.

6 Comments

  1. Cerys – I love this feather writing activity. The feathers are so delicate that they encourage proper grip – it is hard for kids to “fist a feather!” 🙂 Thanks so much for the inspiration – great post!

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