Pre-Writing Painting

Pre-Writing Painting Process Art Activity

Practice pre-writing skills by tracing a variety of
lines using animal figures or corks dipped in paint.

Practice pre-writing skills by tracing a variety of lines using animal figures or corks dipped in paint.


Toddler, Preschool, Early Elementary


Learning Domains

Language, Fine Motor, Pre-Writing Skills



Paper (any size)

Tempera Paint

Shallow Dishes or Palette


• Animal Figures

• Corks*

*Corks should be used only with children over 3 years old.


Ready, Set, Create!


Activity Step 1Place paper on the table. This can be done with large construction paper or with a roll of paper that covers a table.


Activity Step 2Caregivers will use markers to draw a variety of lines on the paper (squiggles, curved lines, zig zag lines, curlicues, etc.).


Activity Step 3Pour paint into palettes or shallow dishes.


Activity Step 4Show children how to dip the feet of the animal figurines or the bottoms of the corks into the paint.

Pre-Writing Painting Art Activity


Activity Step 5Encourage children to print with the animals or corks while following along the lines. Following the lines helps build small muscle control, eye coordination, and pre-writing skills.

Pre-Writing Painting Art Activity

Pre-Writing Painting Process Art Activity




Engage Children in Conversation

Comment on what you observe, such as “I notice you are making your deer walk along this zig zag line" or "What do you think will happen if you dip your cork in two colors of paint and then drag it along this squiggly line?”

Ask children open ended questions that encourage critical thinking, such as:

What happens when you mix two colors together? Will you get a new color? What color do you think you’ll make?

How will you make marks on your paper with your animal or cork? Will you drag your piece or stamp it? How will your marks change?

Which line is your favorite kind of line to trace? Why do you like that line the best?

For very young children, try asking “either/or” questions, such as;

Are you painting with the deer or the cat?

Are you painting on the straight line or the curvy line?



This project is a good way to practice pre-writing skills. When learning to write, children practice making different types of lines and shapes to create letters.

Other sensory-based pre-writing activities are drawing lines and letters with a finger or stick in salt, sand, or another sensory material.



Orange LightbulbCaregivers can vary the size of the animal figurines, based on which sizes will be most comfortable for children to hold.

Orange LightbulbAs children get older, you can offer smaller manipulatives with which to paint, or paint brushes.