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When learning to write their letters, kids can become very frustrated if they make a lot of mistakes. Have you ever worked with a kid who was writing letters on paper and felt he had to erase every letter that wasn’t perfect so he could start over? If the child makes a lot of mistakes, it can definitely be a slow, laborious, and frustrating experience!
So I like letter writing activities that are low-stress when it comes to mistakes. And through my training in Montessori education, I’ve found a few ideas that are really wonderful. Today, in the next installment in my 101 Ways to Teach the Alphabet Series, I’m sharing about writing letters in a salt tray.
Making a salt tray is simple. Grab any tray and fill it with enough salt to just cover the bottom. It helps if the color of the tray contrasts well with white. (Hint: a baking dish can make a great salt tray!)
Add just enough salt to cover the bottom of the tray. Too much salt will make it difficult for your child’s letters to be seen.
Show your child how to write letters in the salt tray using their pointer finger.
Salt trays are an awesome and low-stress way to practicing writing letters, because if the child makes a mistake they simply have to give the tray a small shake to “erase” their letter, and then they can try again!
Many kids enjoy the feel of the salt beneath their fingers, although some kids with sensory processing challenges may be averse to trying a salt tray.
I love salt trays as a quick and easy way to reinforce for my kids the proper way to write a letter. My son struggles with letter reversals (writing letters backwards), so I will sometimes pull out a salt tray and have him quickly practice the correct way to write a letter several times to help build his muscle memory.
One thing we haven’t done, but that would make a good extension for kids who are ready to hold a writing instrument, is to practice writing letters in the salt tray using a chopstick or paintbrush rather than a finger. This would allow kids to practice the correct pencil grip while still providing a low-stress way to learn their letters.
More ways to teach to the alphabet
More alphabet posts from Gift of Curiosity:
- Letter hunt sensory bin
- Making letters with straws and play dough
- Spaghetti letters
- Letter puzzles
- Montessori sandpaper letters
- Making “alphabet soup”
- Mini letter hunt with a magnifying glass
- Kinetic sand letters
- Letter hopscotch
- Letter hop
- Yarn wrapped letters
- Letter tic-tac-toe
- Rainbow letters