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Stencils, Lines, and Crossing the Midline

January 5, 2022

Domain: Physical Development & the Mechanics of Writing

Children will build fine motor strength to support writing; practice writing the lines of letters.

Teachers will explicitly model making lines using specific materials & offer line making materials at choice time.

Drawing and coloring support the development of hand strength and making various lines and shapes. But direct practice with lines adds another layer of skill and development as children learn to cross the midline – all moving from left to right.

From this articleWhen a child has difficulty crossing the midline both sides of the brain are not communicating, motor control decreases, and children can end up having two unskilled hands. The eyes stop at the middle of the page to refocus, losing their place. When writing or using a tool they might begin on one side, stop, and switch hands. Many self-care skills involve being able to cross the midline – putting on socks requires one hand to cross over the body. 

We ask children to make vertical lines but we also want them to make left to right lines, diagonal lines, and designs. Open shapes and stencils are perfect for these tasks. Children love the precision, making multi-colored lines and various types of lines adds interest. See the video: Working With Stencils 

drawing vertical lines
Vertical lines moving from left to right.
Drawing a variety of lines from left to rights
Serpentine, horizontal, and zig-zag lines, all left to right.


  • Slowly trace inside the stencil, remove it. 
  • Add lines in one color. Then add lines in between in another  color.
  • Use stencils with word cards to copy or have child write first sound. 
  • Make a booklet.
drawing lines inside  a stencil outline
Tray with stencils, paper, coloring pencils and vocabulary word cards

Year-Long Trajectory

The Year-Long Trajectory is your scope and sequence for learning experiences across the year.

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