Kids Calligraphy Activities

By Amanda Stovall
Chinese calligraphy involves beautiful ink illustrations.

Calligraphy is the art of lettering that has existed almost as long as the written word. Calligraphy can be practiced using almost any alphabet, and thus can be found in documents from China, Japan, medieval European monks, the United States and many other places. Teaching children calligraphy can help improve penmanship and encourage creativity and attention to detail. Activities will help students practice their calligraphy regularly. These activities don't require special calligraphy tools, although calligraphy pens with slanted tips can be used. Children can practice with markers, pencils, or regular pens.

Learning to Write Calligraphy Letters

Help students learn to create the careful strokes necessary for calligraphy in the Western alphabet. Show children what direction to move their pen and in what order to help practice their penmanship. Practitioners can work on both upper and lower case letters and then practice creating words and sentences. Start by letting them make large letters on individual sheets of paper, and slowly move to a smaller scale as they become more proficient. Have them write out the names of their favorite family members, friends, movies, musical artists or anything else of interest to them.

Chinese New Year Calligraphy

The Chinese New Year is an important holiday in the Chinese calendar and is celebrated with many cultural traditions. The color red is of special significance for its implications of good luck and strength. Teach children about Chinese calligraphy by letting them create chun lian, or New Year's decorations, with yellow or black ink on red paper. You could also paint Chinese symbols on other famous Chinese objects, such as lanterns and fans. Often, the strokes necessary for Chinese lettering are very different than Western letters.

Unique Calligraphy

Help encourage student creativity by allowing them to create their own calligraphic alphabet. Let students search for examples of beautiful penmanship in books, on the Internet, in art, in graffiti, on postcards or anywhere else expressive lettering is found. Using the examples as inspiration, the students can create their own unique alphabet that entails carefully crafted letters, flourishes and attention to detail. Let the students create art projects such as nameplates, signs, puzzles, games, greeting cards and poems using their personal alphabet.