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Tracing Paper Drawing Activities for Toddlers

tracing paper activity for fine motor and printing skills
Using tracing paper to trace images from a colouring book or a children’s book is a fun way for toddlers and preschoolers to trace lines, letters, numbers and images. The activity helps to strengthen fine motor control and pencil grip, and prepares them for drawing and printing on their own.

Tracing paper is something I’ve never thought to use here in the daycare until recently.

The hooligans love drawing and colouring, and I always have materials available for them to help themselves to.

Generally, when it comes to drawing, we lean towards unstructured free art where the children can explore a variety of art supplies and materials.

Last week, however, I pulled out the tracing paper and the 3’s and 4’s had a wonderful time creating and colouring their own drawings.

This was a great activity for fine motor control, and a great exercise in preparing a child for drawing and printing on their own.

What we used:

tracing paper, markers, board book with chunky illustrations

tracing paper, markers, board book with chunky illustrations

  • Tracing paper
  • a permanent marker (sharpies or dry-erase markers work well)
  • a board book with chunky illustrations
  • kids markers for colouring the finished drawing

The process:

Each hooligans chose a picture to trace.  Some chose a page from the board book in the above photo, and I had drawn a few simple images (a flower, a sailboat and a butterfly) for them to choose from as well.

preschooler tracing sailboat on tracing paperpreschooler tracing sailboat on tracing paper

I used tape to secure the tracing paper to the book to prevent it from sliding around, and for my hand-drawn images, I simply placed them on the table, placed a piece of tracing paper over top, and taped it down.

The hooligans used wide-tipped dry-erase markers to trace their images.  Initially, they needed some direction, as their first instinct was to colour the picture.

Because they hadn’t done any tracing before, I demonstrated by tracing my finger along black lines of the illustrations, and explained to them how to follow those lines with their marker, until they had traced over all of them.preschooler tracing butterfly preschooler tracing butterfly

The children working on these drawings were 3 and 4, and I was really impressed by how well they did.  Helping your child to establish a proper “pencil grip” will give them to best control their marker.

When they had finished their tracing, we lifted their tracing paper off of the original image, and they were WOWed by their work, and felt a real sense of pride and accomplishment with their finished drawings.

To finish them off, the hooligans coloured their drawings with washable markers.

preschool drawing activity with tracing paperpreschool drawing activity with tracing paper

Wouldn’t these look wonderful, framed simply, and hung on a wall?

drawing activity for toddlers and preschoolers with tracing paperdrawing activity for toddlers and preschoolers with tracing paper

More Drawing Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers:

Magna Doodle Drawing Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers

DIY Erasable Writing Activity for Preschoolers

Drawing Activity for Preschoolers – Magazine Makeover

Shaving Cream Magna Doodle Activity

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Jackie is a mom, wife, home daycare provider, and the creative spirit behind Happy Hooligans. She specializes in kids’ crafts and activities, easy recipes, and parenting. She began blogging in 2011, and today, Happy Hooligans inspires more than 2 million parents, caregivers and Early Years Professionals all over the globe.