We LOVE this set of Valentine’s Day letter formation mats! These hands-on Valentine themed mats develop letter confidence no matter what stage children are in when it comes to writing. They are also perfect for fine motor development since each letter mat includes opportunities for fun finger tracing or using a manipulative. Each letter has colored lines to help make letter formation simple and fun!
This is just one of our Valentine’s preschool activities that we offer and perfect for a February preschool theme! Plus, it combines heart candies and fine motor skills practice and is super engaging for preschoolers and kindergarteners!
Practicing letter formation can absolutely be appropriate for preschoolers with the right tools and instruction! Certainly, children benefit from learning how to correctly and efficiently form the letters. When letter formation is paired with hands-on play, it allows the focus to shift and make learning more about fun and joy, which allows the brain to absorb the letters and strokes in a truly magical way!
Plus, when they soon become writers, they will be able to easily and automatically write letter strokes all through a little fine motor letter practice. This in turn allows their brains to work on the truly hard stuff like spelling, correctly following the writing lines, developing ideas and transferring to paper, and more.
These Valentine’s Day letter formation mats are great for centers, including a writing or literacy center, in a small group, or for one-on-one instruction. I suggest using them with small manipulatives like heart candies, heart erasers, pom-poms, or even small noodles or beads! They are a great way to develop fine motor skills in preschool and they can be used as a handwriting letter formation activity for older children.
If you are looking for more Valentine’s activities, check out our Valentine’s Day Ten Frame Mats!
How to use the Valentine’s Day Letter Formation Mats
These are great to do with an “I do, we do, you do” approach. Start by modeling it to the child, then work together, and finally, have the child do it independently. Plus incorporating a Valentine’s Day theme into writing time is a perfect spring theme to excite your preschoolers!
- Letter formation handwriting mats from my shop or Teachers Pay Teachers
- Small manipulatives such as mini erasers or anything else you have around
- Learning tray (optional)
- Dry erase pockets and dry erase markers (optional)
- Print out the Valentine’s Day letter formation mats from my shop or Teachers Pay Teachers. I recommend laminating them or placing them in a dry erase pocket for extra protection.
- Choose the letter mats you are ready to use (consider starting with the child’s name or special themed words like hug, love, joy, etc.).
- Using the color code, show the child how to start at the green dot and follow the arrows. The star marks the end of the letter.
- Place mini erasers along the letter by following the letter formation colors and lines. Make it fun and exciting by calling it a march or a parade of manipulatives. Count or make a pattern if you like! How many erasers can this letter hold?
- Older children – Once children have mastered steps 1-4, use a dry erase pocket and have them write the letter with a dry erase marker. If the child has not developed the proper hand strength, wait on this step. It is important to develop proper hand strength before diving into writing letters with a writing utensil.
Color coded letters
Each letter is color coded to make letter formation simple and fun:
- The first line is green
- The last line is red
- Letters with multiple lines also have blue and purple
- When you get to the end, there is a yellow star
These visuals help the child know in what order to form the letter. The color code in the upper left hand corner shows which line to march across first, second, third, or fourth. The arrows help them know which direction to go. Plus, it’s fun and exciting! If they forget which way to go or start the wrong way, remind them to use the “map” in the upper left corner or to follow the arrows.
Valentine’s Day Fine Motor Activity
This Valentine’s Day fine motor mat is the perfect bridge to help children learn important pre-writing skills without the pressure of using a writing utensil.
Since a preschooler’s hand is still growing and developing, it will give them the practice and exposure to letter names and letter formation without developing less than ideal writing habits that can be hard to change later on.
I recommend that all preschoolers start this activity by using these as fine motor mats. Here are the simple steps to follow:
- The children will use the pincer grasp to pick up each mini eraser
- They will make a fun path of mini erasers, following the visual cues to form the letter
- Model how to follow the cues, as each child will learn how to follow the colors and arrows at a different pace
This fun Valentine’s Day letter formation activity also works on multi-step directions and following the steps/following directions. The more the children use these mats, the more their muscle memory develops and it will begin to become rote memory of which stroke comes next. Plus, when you use our other seasonal letter formation mats, you can rotate new ones on a regular basis to keep it fresh and fun.
Check out all our letter formation mats below!
- Snowman Letter Formation Cards in my store or on Teachers Pay Teachers
- Gingerbread Letter Formation Cards in my store or on Teachers Pay Teachers
- Christmas Letter Formation Cards in my store or on Teachers Pay Teachers
- Holiday Letter Formation Card Bundle including Snowman, Gingerbread, and Christmas in my store or on Teachers Pay Teachers
- St. Patrick’s Day Letter Formation Cards in my store or on Teachers Pay Teachers
Valentine’s Day Letter Formation Writing Activity
For older children who are working on handwriting, these pumpkin letter formation mats can be used with a dry erase marker. Simply follow these steps:
- Laminate or put the letter formation mats inside of a dry erase pocket protector
- Have the child trace the lines with their finger first
- Once they have figured out the letter formation that way, then introduce the dry erase marker
- Encourage them to take their time and follow the visual steps on each letter mat
Does this help children with dyslexia?
The long and short answer is yes! I designed these for my own kids who have dyslexia to help them. I have personally found that the colors and arrows do help. Another key factor for kids with dyslexia is how the mouth is formed with the different letter sounds, especially with letters b, d, p, and q.
The lips and tongue all have different positions for each of these letters, and children can use that information to help them differentiate between the letters more easily.
I remind the children that:
- p has a puff of air and a tail
- We start d and q the same way that we make an a
- The b and p begin with a line
Using all of these cues and tips together will help the children differentiate and form the letters with greater ease.
If you are looking for February lesson plans to help support your preschoolers in all areas, check out our awesome February lesson plans post full of thematic ideas for the month!
Grab Your Valentine’s Day Letter Formation Mats
Valentine’s Day Related Learning Activities for Preschoolers
Looking for more Valentine’s Day resources? We have these amazing Valentine’s Day ten frame mats for counting to 20!