WRITING FOR MEANING: Creating Table Setting Place-cards

A few months ago we had some friends over for a formal lunch. Cam was desperate to help as her dad and I frantically worked to get the house ready. Her dad had a brilliant idea, and asked her to create place settings for the guests.

I loved her place cards and put them away in a special place as a keepsake of one of Cam’s first writing records. I recently  fished them out when I decided that they’d make great additions to our Christmas lunch table.

Cam is still in the pre-writing phase (although she has progressed from cursive scribbling to symbols and letter attempts), but I still encourage her to write. You can read more about  the importance of pre-writing.

My main aim is to make sure that writing is enjoyable and meaningful for Cam, so I don’t give her formal pre-writing tasks to complete. Instead, I give her opportunities to write, and I let her write at her own pace. She attempts to write letters that she has come to recognise through our reading and through her own observations in the environment around her.

What she is learning is that her writing (symbols) has meaning and conveys a message- and she’s having fun in the process.

What you need

  • Heavy-stock paper or cardboard (cut into small rectangles and folded)
  • Pencils, pens or textas
  • Stickers for decoration

Our approach

  • One letter at a time, I simply told Cam which letters she needed to write to create each guests’ name.

  • Cam wrote the letters on the place cards based on her knowledge and recognition of the letters (If you wanted to, you could provide your child with a copy of the alphabet)
  • She then decorated the cards with stickers

  • She was so proud of her place cards that she couldn’t wait to show the guests when they arrived.

  • To make Christmas place cards, simply provide your children with festive coloured paper (e.g. red and green) and Christmas themed stickers.


Shopping Lists

Shopping Lists ( Nurture Store)

Grocery Shopping (Rock a Bye Butterfly)

Shopping List for Charlie and Lola Afternoon Tea (My Little Bookcase)


Invitation to Charlie and Lola (My Little Bookcase)

Writing to Fairies (My Little Bookcase)

Letter to Santa (Childhood 101)

Love Notes (My Little Bookcase)

Secret Messages ( What Do We Do All Day? )

Gratitude Postcards ( The Good Long Road)

Monster Note Cards (Picklebums)

Birthday Cards

Home Made Cards (Octavia and Vicky)

Toddler Made Greeting Cards (Learn with Play at Home)


Playdough Coffee Shop (The Fairy and the Frog)

Playdough Pizza Parlour (Nurture Store)

Post Office Play

Post Office Play (Octavia and Vicky)

Pretend Play Post Office (Nurture Store)

Creating Books

Creating Books of their Own (Childhood 101)

Garden Journal (Nurture Store)

Lift the Flap Book (My Little Bookcase)

Riddle Book (My Little Bookcase)

Nature Alphabet Book (Imagination Soup)

Story Writing

Photo Journal (Imagination Soup)

Sticker Stories (Imagination Soup)


Writing Box (What do We Do All Day? )

Journal Writing for Pre-Writers (No Time for Flash Cards)

Write Together Read-a-thon (The Golden Gleam)

Supporting Playful Writers (Childhood 101)

Starting a Blog for Children ( Childhood 101)

WRITING FOR MEANING: Creating Table Setting Place-cards


  1. Look at all those fabulous ideas! I love Cam’s place cards. They’re just adorable. Might have to use your idea and have Maddie make some for the Christmas table. Thanks for sharing! Pinning :)

  2. These are just beautiful Jackie. I love that this activity wouldn’t seem overwhelming for your little writer either. I found that when I gave smaller writing tasks to Miss Possum, she wouldn’t even give it a second thought and would write away, while a longer and harder writing activity would make her give up quickly.

    There’s also some great links in this post too. Of to visit some now. :)

  3. This is such an adorable idea and I absolutely love Cam’s place cards. It is such a perfect purposeful activity for her to achieve.
    Can’t wait to check out all these wonderful links.

  4. What a wonderful collection of ideas, thank you so much for putting it together AND including Octavia and Vicky x

  5. What great little place cards .Good job Cam!

  6. I have such vivid memories of making place cards as a child– writing the names just right and decorating them and even getting to place them where I wanted them to go! Thanks for sharing!

  7. What wonderful ideas. I will pin these so when we get to this stage we can try them!

  8. So Sweet, and what a great collection of ideas to make writing more purposeful for little ones!

  9. When I was a kindergarten teacher parents would ask for worksheets or extra writing practice. I would always encourage them to seek meaningful writing opportunities for their children. This is such a great collection of ideas…wish I had it when I was in the classroom, but I will look forward to using some of the ideas with my kids now.

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