Pre-writing Skills, Counting, and Winter-Themed Printables for Preschoolers with Down Syndrome

One of the things I’m working on with Junior is pre-writing skills. Since he is all about penguins and polar bears, I decided to make an arctic-themed bundle for him. And I made him some Valentine’s Day activities as well. Here’s what we’ve been doing to promote pre-writing skills and counting:

A lot of our pre-writing skill activities happens on the easel, because drawing and scribbling on the easel is an activity Junior really enjoys.

Several weeks ago, his early intervention specialist instructed me to draw a letter on the easel with a dot on top. Then, we had Junior start at the dot, draw a cricle around the letter, and return to the dot. This requires a lot of focus and control, but he did it… again and again. Now he likes to tell me what letter to write: D for Daddy, M for Mommy. He goes through all the names in our family.

So I expanded on that and drew dots to guide him drawing lines going up, down, across, and vertically.

I wanted to help him practice these skills on paper, so here’s what I made:

There are four sheets in this set… you can download them here:

I recommend printing them on cardstock and then laminating them. That way your kiddo can use and reuse them again and again with dry erase markers. No laminator? No problem… you can use self-sealing laminating pouches. However, you can get a reasonably priced laminator, and the thermal laminating pouches are much cheaper than the self-sealing ones.

The next step is to practice drawing simple shapes:

One trick in helping your child draw shapes is to teach them to stop their marker each time they get to a dot. This set gives your child practice drawing squares, rectangles, triangles, diamonds, circles, and ovals. Download them here:

And with Valentine’s Day around the corner, we’re also practicing drawing some of the easiest capital letters:

Junior traces the letters, going from dot to dot, and then enjoys scribbling over the pictures.

For Valentine’s Day (and the whole month of February) I also assembled a little Montessori-style heart kit. Each day we’ll do a different activity from this set.

Foam Stickers and Plastic Hearts can be found at Michael’s

For example, we’ll make patterns by alternating colors and sizes.

We’ll match lids, or sort the heart stickers by color.

On Valentine’s day, I’ll put little treats inside the plastic hearts and surprise him!

We’ll also count the hearts using stickers or cheerios.

And while we’re talking about counting, here’s a counting chart up to thirty:

Even if Junior doesn’t really understand the numerical value of numbers beyond 10, he still enjoys counting by rote.

To help him get a sense of number order, I made four counting puzzles. Here are the polar bear and the walrus puzzles:

Print them on cardstock, laminate, and cut the strips on the dotted lines. Then mix up the strips and help your child put the numbers in order. Sometimes Junior confuses the number order, so I help him by asking what number comes next. Use the included number strips to help your child remember number order. After doing these several days in a row, Junior’s really learning how to put the strips in order.

To help him develop number sense, I made little flash cards with snowmen stickers:

First, for each card we count the snowmen and then turn over the card to see the number. Next, I ask him to give me the card with three snowmen. When he chooses a card which he thinks has three snowmen, we count the snowmen again and check the number on the back to see if he chose the correct card. Then we repeat for other numbers.

Junior loves playing with his cars, so we also practice counting cars.

Finally, let me tell you about pop beads. Just a few days ago, I pulled out his sister’s pop beads. Oh my! He loves these! So, we sort the beads by size and texture:

There are so many ways to play with pop beads: Sort by color or size. Count them. Make patterns. We practice saying three word phrases such as big blue bead, and bumpy green bead. And of course, you can practice three-to-one correspondance, placing three beads in each section of an egg carton or muffin tin:

One of the best things about pop beads for preschoolers with T21 is that they’re great for developing fine motor skills. Junior enjoys pulling the pop beads apart, but he has to work really hard at it. Putting them together is another challenge, but we’ll tackle that later on. Textured pop beads are particularly helpful because they’re easier to grip.

Well, that’s all for now! I hope you and your little ones will enjoy some of these activities!

Here are the links to the printables:

Arctic Animals Easy Tracing Set

Tracing Shapes with Arctic Animals

V is for Valentine – First Letters

Heart Pattern Strips

Heart Counting Cards

1-30 Penguin Counting Chart

Arctic Animals Counting Puzzles

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