Early Lit Bits: Learning with Crafts — If I Had a Hammer

If I Had a HammerPlay-Grow-Read

Many youngsters struggle with handwriting. In a world full of computers and keyboards, it might no longer seem an important skill for children to learn. Reading and writing, however, are closely linked. Both are ways to represent spoken words and communicate information and tell stories. Children develop an understanding of the purpose and meaning of reading through the act of writing. Developing fine motor skills can go a long way toward helping children become better writers. Here is a fun activity to make at home that will encourage squirmy preschoolers to sit still long enough to exercise their hand muscles. Be sure to supervise this activity with your preschooler and work on a sturdy play surface.


  • an empty egg carton or a large chunk of Styrofoam
  • golf tees
  • toy hammer or a small wooden mallet


Detach the lid from the egg carton and turn the bottoms of the cups facing up. Have children pound golf tees into the bottoms of the egg cups, or into a piece of Styrofoam. The tees can then be pulled out and hammered in again. Holding the tees, gripping the hammer and pulling the tees out again are all great ways to develop fine motor skills.

Other ideas:

Give children a plastic lettuce knife and let them saw a piece of Styrofoam. This is an amazingly fun and messy activity, so have a vacuum on hand to clean up afterwards. Make sure to supervise this activity and clean up any bits of foam that might be choking hazards for smaller children in the house.

– Anjie G.

Walker Branch


This article originally appeared in our Early Lit Bits eNewsletter. Read the most recent issue online or sign up to receive this monthly update highlighting early literacy tips and resources for parents and caregivers.


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Written by Ali


Ali is a Collection Development Paraprofessional at KDL. She loves cookbooks and memoirs.

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