How to encourage a 3 year old to write: When I type ‘writing’ I really do mean it in the looses sense of the word! This evening monkey decided to go through my desk draw when he came home, his way of saying mummy get off the laptop! He has always been drawn to the pens, pencils, post it notes and various pieces office stationary. I decided to use this interest as an excuse to put together a writing box for him.

I had a set of cardboard deco-patch suitcases which I got from ebay and the smallest proved perfect for this project. Especially as it has a handle so he can carry it around with him.

I have recently been reading – Supporting Boys Writing in the Early Years by Julie Cigman. It is a real insight into how you can bring writing opportunities into children’s play and more specifically role play. It has some really good ideas which I will be including in Monkey’s play going forward.  One of the things she suggests is putting writing packs together to encourage mark making. The suitcase idea is just a simple extension of this, in ours I put.

Contents of our Writing Box

  • Coloured paper in two sizes
  • Pastel index cards
  • Mini roll of Sellotape
  • Stickers
  • Paperclips
  • Stapler
  • Rubber bands
  • Coloured envelopes
  • Post-it-notes in various sizes
  • Animal post it notes from paperchase
  • Bull dog clip
  • Coloured pencils
  • Retractable HB pencils

Monkey particularly liked choosing the coloured paperclips and also tearing up the coloured paper to make A5 and A6 sheets.

I was after a box which wouldn’t cause too much mess should he be playing with it out of eye shot as such, so I kept certain other things out of it but you could add:

  • Felt tip pens
  • Blu tack
  • Glue stick
  • Ink pads and stamps

We will be adding to ours, as he’s already asking for a calculator like mummy’s and I will be saving old stamps in the future. He wanted to try it out straight away so we set about writing a letter to his first choice the Tickle Monster.  He was really enthusiastic sticking, stapling and scribbling away, explaining what he was writing and asking me to write a few words as well. Monkey was definitely leading the play and the learning experience, he was disappointed when bedtime came!

And heres Tickle Monster (aka Cookie Monster to those children of the 80s!) enjoying his mail.


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  1. Pingback: Playing Postman – Preschool Role Play | Mudpie Fridays

  2. Such a clever idea, well done! I’m all for boxes like these – I have a scrapbooking box, a craft box (or 3) etc. x

  3. Fi Ní Neachtáin Reply

    This is such a lovely idea, it looks full to the brim with things that would encourage creativity and writing skills. You’ve made me want to put together one for my boy 🙂

  4. great ideas, my littlest has always loved ddrawing like this etc and now she is top of the class. It certainly helps.

  5. You Baby Me Mummy (@YouBabyMeMummy) Reply

    I love this idea, I think I might try to do this for Baby. She loves colouring and she would love it to all be in the one place x

  6. .Sara. (@OoSerzoO) Reply

    This is brilliant idea! I love the suitcase, too. I think even my youngest (who is 8 years old) would love this, too! This would be a fab thing to bring out on a rainy day, too. xx

  7. What a fab idea – you’ll also need some kind of stamp things so you can both play at Post Offices too! 🙂

  8. Becky, Cuddle Fairy Reply

    What – the cookie monster is now the tickle monster? Oh how did I miss this?! Monkey is so adorable with his crafts, as always you have the best ideas. My kids love playing post! Great idea to save old stamps & a calculator is great fun too x

  9. That’s a great idea, and keeps everything a bit more contained. We have paper and pens etc all over the place in our house! And since when did Cookie Monster’s name change?!

  10. What a fantastic idea and that way nothing gets lost. When children are young everything tends to go everywhere so a writing box is perfect.

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