2B: Handwriting warm ups

Think about what happens when athletes are preparing for a sprint, or when footballers are about to play a match or when a ballet dancer is about to perform. What activity do they all do first? They do a warm up. They do this in order to warm up their muscles and to prepare their body to prevent injury and to perform to their full capacity.

It is the same with handwriting. We all need to warm up our muscles in order to write as well as we can and to be able to write for longer periods. This is especially important for young people who find handwriting a challenge.

Before you do any handwriting warm-ups with young people for the first time, why not:

  • Get them to think of activities where you need to do a warm up
  • Think about why warm ups are important
  • Show a warm up that they might do before that activity
  • Write a cartoon strip of a warm up sequence (for example, demonstrate a movement break and write a cartoon strip to break it down)
  • Then explain how our hands need to do the same to work as well as they can when writing and to stop them getting as sore

Click the arrow to expand each one or click here to expand all of the examples below:

Handwriting Warm Ups Demonstrated

In the videos Warm Ups 1 and Warm Ups 2, an occupational therapist describes some handwriting warm exercises and explains how they are beneficial.

N.B These videos are for staff CPD and are not created to use with the pupils.

These are just a couple of warm ups to get you started; see the links below (at the bottom of the page) for access to further resources.

Handwriting Warm Ups Learners Resources

The pictures and sequencing charts on this page Warm Up 1 Visual Prompts and Warm Up 2 Visual Prompts can be used to provide visual prompts for different handwriting warm ups for desks or the whiteboard.


Why not also choose music for a handwriting warm up too? This can act as a prompt when learners become familiar with it.

Go to www.audio.lgfl.net to choose your own audio prompt.

Creating Your Own Cross Curricular Handwriting Warm Ups

Imagine if you were doing the same exercises or eating the same food a few times a day. You would get bored of these activities, and your young people will get bored if you are just using the same sequences.

It is important to give your children the opportunity to create their own handwriting sequences and exercises (using resources and exercises from here or other websites) so they have ownership of them.

They can also collaborate with others on sequences and benefit from speaking and listening and drama opportunities as they perform their sequences for their classmates to copy.

You can also create some sequences yourself thinking of curriculum opportunities e.g. counting or creatively linking them to a topic.

Have a look at the documents on this page Order Your Own Warm Up Visual and Make Your Own Warm Up Visual for some templates that learners can use to order their own or create their own handwriting warm ups.

Key Points

  • As with any physical activity, warming up before writing can reduce strain and improve performance
  • Learners can become easily bored of warm up sequences; so use variety and get them involved in creating moves and sequences

Thinking Points

  • You can make these warm ups really fun and cross curricular by linking them to your class topic

Supportive Resources