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It can be a little daunting to find a way to encourage kids to practice their writing skills when they’re not in school, but I know that personally, I find handwriting one of the areas my kids need to work on the most! Now that cursive isn’t taught in many schools and less emphasis is put on handwriting now that most everything is typed, I find that it often falls to the parents to encourage their kids to take pride in their penmanship. Here are some simple activities you can do with your kiddos to get them to practice this skill AND have fun!

#1 – Write to their favorite Disney character!
Did you know you can write a letter to your favorite Disney character and they will send an autographed postcard in return? It takes about 4-6 weeks to get the postcard in the mail, but I think it’s worth it to get Cinderella’s signature! Have your kids write about why they love a specific character, ask them questions about their life, and maybe include a drawing, then seal up the letter in an envelope and mail it to:

c/o CHARACTER NAMEWalt Disney World CommunicationsP.O. Box 10040Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830-0040

When you receive the postcard from the character, you can sit down and work on your next letter!

#2 – Dinner Menus
This is one of my kids’ favorites. I let them help me plan out what we’ll have for dinner, and then they create a fancy dinner menu for each person at the table. Now, this isn’t an order-what-you-want menu, it’s a menu like one of those fancy 4-star restaurants where it simply tells you what will be served that night. My kids love to decorate their menus with lots of stickers, drawings and even customize them with the names of each family member so they act as place settings too!

My kiddos also like to create order-what-you-want breakfast menus. They will give them to us in the evening so that we can select what we want for breakfast and then they will make us breakfast in the morning! If your kids are old enough, this is a fun twist on the idea!

#3 – Custom Wrapping Paper
Have a celebration coming up that will require the wrapping of a gift or two? Have your kids create custom wrapping paper for the person or event! Use large sheets of newsprint or a big roll of brown paper and cover it with crayons, markers, paint and more! Write the birthday boy’s name, or phrases like “It’s a girl!” ¬†and “Welcome baby Jane!” for a baby shower, or positive reinforcement like “You rock!” for a just-because gift. I like to print up examples of fancy fonts and let the kids copy them as they write their phrases. It helps them practice controlling their writing.

#4 – Month-Long Letters
Grab a small journal from the dollar store {something thin and light, you’re going to mail this!} or make one with some nice paper and staples {you’ll need stickers too, of course, since you’ll definitely have your kids decorate it themselves, right?} Now have your kids write an entry in their journal each weekend for a month talking about their week and the different weekend activities you do as a family. At the end of the month, pack up that journal and send it off to a relative of their choice! It will be a delightful treat for your relative and a great way to keep your kiddos practicing their handwriting and their language skills!

I hope you and your kids will have fun with these nifty activities – and that you find the extra practice helps to bring a bit more beauty to your kiddos’ penmanship!