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Salt Tray Writing

This activity will help your little ones practice their fine motor skills with their fingers as well as letter, number and word recognition!

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Practice writing and letter recognition with the element of a sensory bin in your home! Minimal materials required!

Children love to explore different mediums with their hands. This activity will let your little one explore different textures while practicing their letters, numbers and shapes as well as writing!

🧒 Extend this activity for older kiddos - you can extend this activity to use unsharpened pencils (golf pencils work great for small hands) or a paint brush to practice holding utensils using the pincer grasp using the thumb and first finger (rather than palmer, the whole hand)

🌈 Add a surprise! You can put coloured paper below the medium you use for a special surprise one day (double surprise - make it rainbow!).


For this activity you will need:

A baking tray or shallow bin (preferably one with a larger lip to avoid spills) 

A medium the children can manipulate with their fingers such as salt, sugar, sand, soil or snow

Index cards/post it notes with letters/shapes/numbers/words etc written on them by you or an older sibling

✔️ Adjust this activity to your child depending on their skill level. For younger kiddos - start with shapes and squiggles. Once they’ve mastered those, feel free to then move to upper case letters like E, F, L, and then more tricky ones like K, A, Z and W. Then move to lowercase and maybe their name and simple words!

Learning Outcomes




Fine Motor Letter Recognition


Using fingers to trace letters

Identifying phonological sounds of each letter and word

Picking out other words that begin with the same letter or sound as their names


Step 1:

Pour your medium of choice (salt, sugar etc) in the shallow bin/pan.

Step 2:

Next, place the card in front of the bin and have your child use their finger to copy the shape/number etc in the sand or salt etc.

Step 3:

Have the child practice writing the letter several times until they’re comfortable to move onto the next letter in the deck!

Step 4:

While the child is drawing the letters, ask them what word starts with that letter.

Playful Questions

Which hand or finger do you like using best for this activity?

What does the medium (salt, snow etc) feel like in your hands and on your finger?

Can you draw your own shape or letter not listed on a card?

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