Play It Forward Therapy

Car Wash Writing- Preschool Letter Practice

August 18, 2023

Car fanatics will love this creative way to practice handwriting while using toy cars and shaving creme!

Here’s what you’ll need for your car wash.

  • Small toy cars
  • Washable finger paints (I especially like Crayola’s scented bathtub finger paints in neon colors.
  • Shaving Crème (white foam)
  • A large plate (You can use a large heavy duty paper plate, a plastic plate or even a large lid from a plastic container)
  • A variety of car washing tools (wash cloths, toothbrush, paintbrush, nail brushes or even makeup brushes could work too)
  • A hand towel or wash cloth
  • A Container for water (or play in the sink or the bathtub)


  1. Set up a car washing station at the sink, outside or on a large, rimmed baking try (to help contain the mess!)
  2. Simply squirt the finger paint and shaving crème onto the plate or tray and use your index finger or a paint brush to form letters and numbers.
  3. Have your child “drive the car” on the “road” you created. The idea is to show your child how to form the letters first, then after watching you demonstrate, they can trace the letter or number using their toy car.

Make Letter Practice Multi-Sensory

When it comes to teaching preschoolers how to write their letters and numbers, the best way is to use a multisensory approach to teach young children prewriting skills. This means that you don’t have to limit handwriting practice to pencil and paper!

Multisensory means engaging or using more the one of your senses to support learning and memory.

How multisensory practice helps kids learn how to form letters and numbers.

Multisensory learning incorporates your child’s different senses, which helps the brain remember even better when different sensory channels are associated with the practice.

Let’s talk about how each one of your child’s senses is used in this kindergarten readiness activity to make it a multi-sensory activity.

Touch:  Your child will use his or her sense of touch while writing or drawing in the wet paint.   If your child is sensitive to wet textures or messy activities, let them use a paint brush, cotton ball or Q Tip.

Pro Tip: For children who are tactilely defensive (kids who tend to avoid messy play), consider squirting the paint into a Ziplock plastic bag, seal it and tape it to the tabletop.  Practice writing with your finger on top of the bag.

Body Awareness: When your child uses the toy car or their pointer finger to draw the letters, the movement experience supports his or her fine motor skills and body awareness.   The reason why this method is effective is because a key part of preschool prewriting practice is teaching proper letter formations.   Then, when it’s time to practice with pencil and paper, they have a muscle memory of how it feels to form the letters and numbers correctly.

Auditory: Say the name of the letter.  Then have the child repeat the stroke sequence out loud… For example, when practicing capital “D”, you could say “Big line down.  Jump! Big Curve”.  This not only incorporates your child’s sense of hearing, but it also supports your child’s auditory memory for how to properly form their letters and numbers.

Visual: Your child will practice visual attention and focus on the bright colors which are fun and appealing to look at.  By watching you demonstrate how to make the letters and numbers first, this supports your child’s visual memory to imitate and copy.  These are the beginning steps for learning how to write.

Sense of Smell:  The smell of the scented finger paints or shaving crème can be motivating for some children, adding another layer of sensory input to their handwriting practice.

Plus, when it comes to teaching good hygiene habits, washing hands until the colored paint disappears is a great visual for kids to learn how to thoroughly wash and rinse their hands.


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