Moon Dust Sensory Writing Tray

Magical moon dust sensory writing tray

Create some magical, sparkly moon dust sensory writing tray for use in early literacy, mark-making and writing activities! A creative, original and fun way to get kids excited about learning, as well as being a great, Montessori style sensory experience too!

pre-writing montessori activity salt tray

A few months ago we made some pink sensory salt in a mark-making tray, for drawing and writing in. The salt feels so soft and runs so smoothly through the fingers and we fell in love with it as a new sensory material and have been making lots of different types ever since! We used lavender oil to create a calming lavender sensory salt for pre-bedtime wind down which has been enjoyed ever since by both girls.

Moon dust sensory writing tray

Recently Cakie has been totally absorbed with the desire to learn to write her letters and we have been trying lots of fun, hands-on ways to do this together (no worksheets necessary!) So we made another tray for practising letter writing, this time using magical MOON DUST!
To create this we simply used one bag of economy salt, a squirt of black food colouring and a large sprinkling of silver glitter. Stir the colouring through the salt until evenly dispersed and allow it to dry before adding the glitter. It shouldn’t take too long before being ready to use!

Sensory writing in magical moon dust

I lined a Melissa and Doug packaging tray (how many of these do you have in your home?!) with shiny silver card, then spread a thin layer of the moon dust over the top. The dust shouldn’t be too deep or else the finger marks won’t show through to the shiny layer underneath.

If you don’t have one of those trays just pick up a disposable metallic tray at the supermarket which will have the same effect, or use any flat surface which has an edge.

For fun we stuck a sparkly yellow sticker on her writing finger to represent a whizzing comet, and she took her finger on a journey through space to land on the moon! We talked about making patterns, marks, pictures, shapes and dots and had fun making the underneath layer appear and shimmer through.

Then she moved on straight away to wanting to practise writing letters, so she wrote all the ones she knew and looked at an alphabet chart on the wall for the ones she couldn’t remember.

She independently sounded out and wrote the word “cat” and then helped herself to a jar of acrylic gem crystals and used them to carefully line up over the letters, making them stand out and look magical!

When we were finished we tipped it into a storage jar for using another day. Since making this we have already made 3 other exciting sensory salt trays, which both girls are loving to use quite regularly. I will share them here soon!

Learning Links: sensory and tactile exploration, mark-making, forming letters, recognising and naming phonemes and graphemes, fine motor finger control

Cakie: 4.2
Pop: 2.7
Bean: 8 mos

Have you tried any creative ways to get your little ones interested in writing and mark-making?

See also:
Pink Sensory Salt Tray
Calming Lavender Sensory SaltĀ 
Search the rest of our Playful Literacy series here


  1. says

    Oooohhh, I love this! Calling it “Moon Dust” makes it feel so magical. I have been saving the tin trays from grocery store take-and-bake pizzas and using them as trays for painting and sensory play. They would make a great tray for moon dust as they are smooth and very shiny.