Tracing can help children develop fine motor skills, which can aid them with other tasks, such as learning to write. It also helps students with developmental disabilities to develop math and language skills. Other benefits of tracing include improvement in hand/eye coordination, dexterity and spatial awareness.
Preschool children can trace to practice the skills they need to write, including learning how to hold a crayon or pencil. Tracing curved and straight lines, circles and other shapes refines children's muscles and coordination, which makes it easier for them to transition to writing. Tracing a dot-to-dot puzzle requires children to use fine motor skills and also encourages them to practice counting. If children do not have the hand and finger strength to trace with a crayon or pencil, encourage them to play with modeling clay to develop these muscles.
For children who are ready to start writing letters of the alphabet, tracing the letters can be a good way to memorize them and learn to write them clearly. Some worksheets offer dot-to-dot letter patterns; others feature lightly-inked solid-line letters for tracing. Illustrated tracing worksheets can help children build early phonics skills; for example, a letter A tracing worksheet might feature a drawing of an apple.
Children can learn to draw objects by tracing those objects with their fingers. For example, before drawing a picture of an apple, a child may first trace the fruit with her finger. She can practice tracing that shape in the air before trying to replicate the pattern on paper. Tracing art subjects in this way helps children recognize details, such as whether the subject is straight or curved, smooth or rough. This familiarity can help build a child's confidence as an artist.