Writing’s not just for the writing area

A bright, inviting and well resourced writing area is, of course, essential; however, it is just as important to encourage children to write in any provision area.  Here are a few ideas, some general, and some specific to an area, to help children to readily think of ‘jotting things down’ as a way of sharing their world with others.

In general, shoe boxes containing clipboards and paper, with pencils on a string, are great to have anywhere and everywhere alongside any kind of learning experience, inside or outside. Slip some sheets inside plastic wallets as children do enjoy the smooth sensation of writing or drawing on the plastic, with washable felt-tipped pens, and the ‘wipeability’.  Instead of shoeboxes, you can use plastic twin–compartment tool trays with a handle.

Small world area

Provide open-ended ‘themed’ plain A4 sheets on clipboards alongside small world play.  Add a very simple picture or design to a corner or along an edge of the paper, ‘matched’ to a current small world theme e.g. pirates, airport, firefighters, animals etc, for maps, signs, ‘notices’ and ‘reports’ etc.

Malleable area

Perhaps Wallace has decided to make Gromit a birthday party!  Children could make playdough/clay ‘bones’ and ‘dog biscuits’, then write out invitations to Gromit’s ‘doggy friends’, and draw plans for ‘party fun activities’ for dogs, then make them from junk materials and construction sets e.g. an ‘obstacle course’ etc.

Book area

Have a stock of blank, simply bordered (e.g. with book characters) ‘I love this book!’ sheets, and a place where children can display their sheets for other children to read.

Have stationery available, too, for children who may want to write to a book character.  Make sure of course, that a reply always arrives!  Sometimes have a letter to a child  from a character already written, ‘during the night’!.

Creative workshop

Provide simply decorated sheets for children to draw what they have made, and perhaps write about how they did it, and attach to a display board.  Some could be headed ‘How to…’

Role play area

Have a wipeable marker board on the wall.  If the area is a ‘home’, children can jot down shopping and ‘to do’ lists, phone numbers of ‘repair people’, names of the bears and dolls and what to buy them for Christmas etc.  If a ‘hospital’ or a ‘vets surgery’, children could write the names of patients and their illnesses and treatments.  If the area is a ‘car workshop’, they could write the makes of cars and their repairs.

Floor construction area

Have plain sheets on clipboards available in boxes on the floor, for children to draw ‘plans’ of the buildings etc, and notices , street signs etc.

Keep a box of plain paper on clipboards alongside traffic road mat play, too.  One child, in uniform as a ‘police office’ or ‘traffic warden’ could ‘jot down’ the ‘registration numbers’ ( small white stickers on vehicles) of vehicles that are ‘speeding’, or ‘jumping lights’, or ‘park illegally’.

Maths area

Have sheets with a simple decorative border on a number theme, for children to write their names and their friends’ names and their ‘scores’ in child-devised and manufactured games.

Investigation area

Make available a supply of ‘Look what I found out!’ sheets, with a simple motif.


Have boxes and containers of clipboard sheets, and pencils on strings, in strategic positions outside for role play ‘messages’, and ‘important notes’, and outdoor ‘discoveries’ etc.

Providing plentiful ‘jotting stations’ in all provision areas will help children turn easily to ‘jotting things down’, and becoming ‘ready writers’!


About Linda Mort | Early Years Learning

Early Years Learning is a blog by Linda Mort, a published early years specialist and Educational Director at Child's Eye Media. www.childseyemedia.com
This entry was posted in Creative learning, Letter formation, Literacy, mark making and emergent writing, Outdoor play, Writing through role-play and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Writing’s not just for the writing area

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Writing’s not just for the writing area | Early Years Learning -- Topsy.com

  2. Vanessa Barrera says:

    I agree with you Linda, it is important to incorporate writing in all areas of a child’s learning and through their interest. I love the idea of having a shoe box with a wipeable surface and marker for children to use to write on. I love having clipboards around as well as a great way of encouraging writing in other areas.

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