A freind of mine sent me a link to this site (thanks A!) that offers a printable template that you fill in with a marker, scan and upload to them. From this they will transform your handwriting into a font for mac or pc that you can download and use as you like. For free! Thank you Fontcapture!
I printed out the template and my four year old filled in the characters that she knows, upper and lower case letters, numbers and an exclamation mark, full stop and question mark. We didn't bother with half the template sheet because we don't need all the extra characters for a full font.
I scanned it in, uploaded the image (a png file) and then extremely quickly (a minute or less) we had the font downloaded and installed to use. Brilliant! Here's my four year old's template sheet...
and here is a little thank you note dictated in the font...The kids spent a good half an hour playing on the computer just typing letters and numbers in the font made from my four year old's letters. I'm part way through making a font for my three year old too. She is too young to be able to fit her letters in the spaces on the template sheet, so I'm getting her to write her letters and numbers on plain white sheets, then I'll scan them and cut and paste her characters into the template on the computer. She's done her uppercase ones, so we'll do the lowercase and numbers another day. Here she is working on some of her uppercase letters. She wants to do everything her big sister can do. It's ridiculously cute.I think this will make a very sweet keepsake. It might even be nice to see if they want to dictate a "journal entry" every now and again, even though they are too young to write sentances themselves. If the service is still available in the future then I will definately be getting them to fill in a template sheet once a year to have a font per year of their young lives like a little time capsule (I am a sentimental fool).
It really does make it far too easy to create a basic font on a whim. Here's one I made for the girls in just ten minutes, kind of like the bubble writing that I did for the lowercase and uppercase floor game a while back.