I love, love, love fall! It is my absolute, hands-down, all-time favorite season to plan for! I adore all things apples, cinnamon, and pumpkin! It’s a bit early, but part of my back to school prep always involves a big apple theme study. Visiting an apple orchard always inspires us to really go all out with this theme. Today’s free printable is completely back to school perfect! I am showing you a super fun, new way to use our apple scissor strips by turning them into apple tracing strips!

Apple Tracing Strips

Age: 3+
Why: Using tracing strips like this are a fantastic pre-writing exercise. Children can use these cards to practice writing on a line. This will give them an opportunity to practice holding a pencil (or another manipulative) properly, improving their pincer grasp, and strengthening their hand muscles.

How to prepare

This file includes several tracing (or scissor) strips. Children can practice tracing where the lines are dashed. Each strip has a solid outside border. If you want to present individual strips rather than the full sheet of paper, you can cut them out along the solid border.

You may want to laminate these papers if you will be using them with multiple children.

I also recommend providing a larger tray to place both the sand tray and the cards inside of. This way, if the sand spills, you will have somewhere to catch the spills.

How to use

You can present a few strips at a time to your students. You can simply provide a whiteboard marker (if you laminated) or a different writing tool of your choice. Alternatively, what I love, love, love to do is provide a sand tray, too!

Children can use a manipulative OR their fingers to create the patterns in the sand. For these apple strips, I love providing a cinnamon stick! This smells delicious!

The strips included in this set are progressively more difficult. Children can start by practicing straight lines, curved ones, pointed ones, and more!

Materials you need:

  • Apple Tracing Strips
  • Cinnamon stick (option)
  • Sand
  • 2 trays – one large, one smaller

You can see some of the different patterns here! Each pattern comes in both a red apple and a green apple.

If you do not want to present this with a sand tray or a writing tool, you could even provide manipulatives for children to place along the dashed lines. We have been saving apple seeds this summer for our fall themed activities! Here, you can see how we will use apple seeds to place along the patterns!

You can use a different manipulative, however, such as pom poms, marbles, or anything else you have on hand! This is a great way to develop fine motor skills and a pincer grasp.

Use as Scissor Strips

Alternatively, you can even use these cards as scissor strips. If you choose to do this, do not laminate the cards. Present the cards alongside a pair of scissors, and a bowl for loose/extra parts.

Begin with the snipping strips. Children learning to use scissors first learn to make snipping movements along a straight line. You can use these strips for this purpose. The cut out parts can even be used to create an art project afterward!

Then, children can practice cutting along the increasingly difficult strips!

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Apple Tracing Strips

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