handwriting Archives | Play It Forward Therapy
Pixy Stix Cursive Handwriting Practice

Pixy Stix Cursive Handwriting Practice

Do you have a child who dreads handwriting practice?  Do you have a resistant writer who is hesistant to try cursive because printing has been difficult?

If the answer is yes, put away the pencil and paper and get ready for an activity that’s perfect for kids who hate to write, but love a sweet treat …  Read on to learn how to help a reluctant writer to become more motivated and experience sweet success during handwriting practice.

This Pixy Stix Handwriting activity encourages practicing letter formations with repetitions in a fun and creative way.  Kids can use their pointer finger to practice cursive letters while drawing on a plate covered in Pixy Stix candy dust.

Some children become so overwhelmed by all of the elements of handwriting legibility that they “shut down” before they’ve even started.

This activity reinforces proper letter formation and stroke sequence by providing touch and movement input to help children remember how to form their letters.   This is called kinesthetic learning, by using movement to support learning and memory.

This activity frees up working memory and effort because the focus is purely on letter formations, so kids don’t need to worry about size, spacing or alignment (letter sitting on the line).  Plus, when kids are engaged and associate a “dreaded” activity with something fun, they’re more likely to participate and remember!

The reason why this activity works is because it taps into multi-sensory handwriting practice by incorporating sight, touch, smell, taste and body awareness to reinforce memory and learning cursive handwriting.

This activity has been an all time favorite, especially working with kids with dysgraphia.  As a matter of fact, I’ve never had a child refuse this type of handwriting practice!

Try it out and have fun!

You will need:

  • Pixy Stix candy
  • White plate


  1.  Wash your hands!
  2. Tear or cut open the top of the pixy stix.
  3. Sprinkle the contents on the plate.  Use two colors for a fun color mixing effect.
  4. Practice writing your letters in cursive one at a time using your index finger (pointer finger).
  5. Gently shake the plate to redistribute the pixy stix dust and “clear the board”
  6. Feel free to lick your finger between letters.
  7. Wash your hands afterwards.

Next, Practice the same cursive letters with pencil and paper.  Did the pixy stix writing help you remember how to form  your cursive letters?

Pro Tips:  

  • Start with a few easy letters to start the activity off with success.
  • Provide a visual demonstration: Make a plate for yourself and demonstrate the letter first on your own plate.  Then have your child copy the letter on their own plate.  Or you can use a white board to provide a visual demonstration first.
  • After a few easy letters, start to focus on the letters that are the hardest to remember.
  • Write the letter in the air,
  • Write the letter with eyes open.  Then write the letter with eyes closed.
  • Once you’ve mastered individual letters, try writing short 2 -3 letter words.
  • Practice your first and last name.  Practice writing your signature.
  • Reinforce proper technique by licking your finger only after you’ve practiced the letter correctly.
  • If you’re not sure how to form the letters, here’s a link to letter formation charts for print and cursive at Learning Without Tears CLICK HERE

Alternative options are writing on a salt covered cookie tray… it’s not quite as tasty, but it gets the job done when it comes to letter practice.

Car Wash Writing- Preschool Letter Practice

Car Wash Writing- Preschool Letter Practice

Car fanatics will love this creative way to practice handwriting while using toy cars and shaving creme!

Here’s what you’ll need for your car wash.

  • Small toy cars
  • Washable finger paints (I especially like Crayola’s scented bathtub finger paints in neon colors.
  • Shaving Crème (white foam)
  • A large plate (You can use a large heavy duty paper plate, a plastic plate or even a large lid from a plastic container)
  • A variety of car washing tools (wash cloths, toothbrush, paintbrush, nail brushes or even makeup brushes could work too)
  • A hand towel or wash cloth
  • A Container for water (or play in the sink or the bathtub)


  1. Set up a car washing station at the sink, outside or on a large, rimmed baking try (to help contain the mess!)
  2. Simply squirt the finger paint and shaving crème onto the plate or tray and use your index finger or a paint brush to form letters and numbers.
  3. Have your child “drive the car” on the “road” you created. The idea is to show your child how to form the letters first, then after watching you demonstrate, they can trace the letter or number using their toy car.

Make Letter Practice Multi-Sensory

When it comes to teaching preschoolers how to write their letters and numbers, the best way is to use a multisensory approach to teach young children prewriting skills. This means that you don’t have to limit handwriting practice to pencil and paper!

Multisensory means engaging or using more the one of your senses to support learning and memory.

How multisensory practice helps kids learn how to form letters and numbers.

Multisensory learning incorporates your child’s different senses, which helps the brain remember even better when different sensory channels are associated with the practice.

Let’s talk about how each one of your child’s senses is used in this kindergarten readiness activity to make it a multi-sensory activity.

Touch:  Your child will use his or her sense of touch while writing or drawing in the wet paint.   If your child is sensitive to wet textures or messy activities, let them use a paint brush, cotton ball or Q Tip.

Pro Tip: For children who are tactilely defensive (kids who tend to avoid messy play), consider squirting the paint into a Ziplock plastic bag, seal it and tape it to the tabletop.  Practice writing with your finger on top of the bag.

Body Awareness: When your child uses the toy car or their pointer finger to draw the letters, the movement experience supports his or her fine motor skills and body awareness.   The reason why this method is effective is because a key part of preschool prewriting practice is teaching proper letter formations.   Then, when it’s time to practice with pencil and paper, they have a muscle memory of how it feels to form the letters and numbers correctly.

Auditory: Say the name of the letter.  Then have the child repeat the stroke sequence out loud… For example, when practicing capital “D”, you could say “Big line down.  Jump! Big Curve”.  This not only incorporates your child’s sense of hearing, but it also supports your child’s auditory memory for how to properly form their letters and numbers.

Visual: Your child will practice visual attention and focus on the bright colors which are fun and appealing to look at.  By watching you demonstrate how to make the letters and numbers first, this supports your child’s visual memory to imitate and copy.  These are the beginning steps for learning how to write.

Sense of Smell:  The smell of the scented finger paints or shaving crème can be motivating for some children, adding another layer of sensory input to their handwriting practice.

Plus, when it comes to teaching good hygiene habits, washing hands until the colored paint disappears is a great visual for kids to learn how to thoroughly wash and rinse their hands.

Need handwriting practice? FREE Flag Paper and Writing Prompts

Need handwriting practice? FREE Flag Paper and Writing Prompts

July is a speical time for celebrating America’s Independence!  Many traditions, backyard BBQs, fireworks and summer memories are made around this time of year. 

It’s the perfect opportunity for kids to write down their special memories and keep their handwriting skills sharp over the summer.  If you find that your child is resistant to handwriting practice over the summer… The key is to make writing practice fun, especially once school is out!

Kids will find this festive Flag Paper as a fun, unique way to write a journal entry or answer one of the writing prompts. 

Younger children will benefit from  using the wide stripe flag paper to practice their alphabet and focus on the size of their letters.

This bundle includes red and white lined flag inspired paper.  The high contrast between the red and white stripes will help kids with legibility (letters staying in the white line or sitting on the line). The paper also comes with large or medium lines so you can use the size that works best for your child’s writing style.

Other ways to use this Flag Inspired Paper

  • Letter practice on the white lines to work on letter formations, memory, sizing and alignment (letters sitting on the line)
  • Use the FREE writing prompts for reluctant writiers who have difficulty thinking of what to write (request it below and I’ll send you an email with the instant download).
  • Use the writing prompt download as a fun conversation starter to practice social skills at your next gathering.
  • Check out the Flag Cookie.  Use the paper to write out the recipe before making the cookie.  

Keep on reading to get your FREE printable Flag Paper, Writing Prompts and Flag Cookie recipe!

P.S. Scroll down to get your free printables. Plus, check out the Flag Cookie Craft for a sweet way to celebrate Independence Day! 

Print out the Flag Paper to write out the 4th of July Flag Cookie Recipe

Pin It on Pinterest