Handwriting Practice Place Mat

An early draft

My older son has developed some horrible handwriting habits, which I’m trying to correct. I have a few wipe-off writing practice books from the mid 1990s (published by Troll Associates), but it’s hard to get him motivated to use them except when we play the occasional game of school.

My friend Kaley, a homeschooler, had a brilliant idea: she has writing practice place mats, and her boys practice writing while she’s making their meal. Being thrifty, I figured I could make my own.

My mom is a former preschool teacher with far better handwriting than mine, so she put together the early draft (above) using white paper, colored markers and a ruler. My son can start with the basic lowercase “c” shape, then move on to “o” and “a” before using those same strokes to form ds, gs, qs and the like. We have been trying to help him remember that he always starts at “two o’clock” when forming those lowercase letters.

Once we have a design we are happy with, we’ll laminate the place mat. You could also try clear contact paper if you don’t have a laminator at home. For writing practice, we use Dixon Phano China Markers, which are waxy pencils that offer more resistance than dry-erase markers. You can find china markers at office supply stores or online.

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