How to Use Tracing Paper With Kids

Updated February 21, 2017

Tracing paper provides hours of entertainment for kids. It allows children to create works of art even if they do not possess strong artistic abilities and helps very young children learn to write numbers and letters. Tracing paper creations strengthen fine motor skills, which allow children to control a variety of tools, such as pencils, paintbrushes and scissors.

Place a sheet of tracing paper and pencil in front of the child, and let him touch and examine them. Explain that tracing paper is transparent, and ask him if he has any ideas about what he can do with the paper and pencil.

Give the child something simple to trace to get him started. Pictures of letters and numbers work well, as they not only let the child practice working with tracing paper, but also allow him to practice writing numbers and letters.

Direct the child to place the picture of the number or letter under the tracing paper. Show him how to trace the images onto the paper.

Encourage the child to trace the pictures of the numbers and letters. Let him continue to do this as long as he is entertained and engaged with the activity.

Allow the child to choose a picture of himself to trace after he has finished tracing the numbers and letters.

Tape the picture of the child to the back of the tracing paper. The correct side of the picture should be facing up. The tape will prevent the picture from slipping.

Show him how to trace the picture of himself onto the tracing paper. Point out that it is the same technique he used to trace the numbers and letters, but this requires more attention to detail.

Remove the tape from the picture when the child is finished with his drawing. The completed drawing will resemble a professional portrait.

Place the drawing beside the picture and compare. Encourage the child to add detail, such as shading, to his portrait if he wishes.


A large picture works best for creating a self portrait, but a small one will work, too.

Things You'll Need

  • Pencil
  • Tape
  • Pictures of numbers and letters
  • Pictures of the child
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About the Author

Margie English, a freelance writer based in Alabama, has been writing education-related articles since 2001. Her work appears in various online publications. She has a master's degree in education and taught English for seven years before starting her writing career.