Create a gingerbread sensory writing tray for learning letters, sight words and number formation in a fun and tactile way! Brilliant Christmas literacy activity for preschoolers, primary and elementary school kids.
We are nearly the whole way through the year with our Sensory Writing Tray series and I have loved doing these with the kids! I do love an ongoing theme and the creative ways to create with such a smoke set of materials are endless.
For our latest Christmas themed sensory writing tray, I made gingerbread salt as a base material for mark-making in. To make this, I simply added 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp ginger and 1 tsp allspice to approximately 1/2 cup of salt and stirred it through very carefully until it was all combined and the colour was well mixed. Keep dry cinnamon away from the kids as it can be dangerous if inhaled. Once thoroughly mixed into the salt base it is fine to use in this way. The sensory tray smelt amazing!
I used a gingerbread cookie cutter to trace some shapes onto thin cardboard, then cut them out to make a stack of plain gingerbread men. I gave them an outline using a white paint pen, then wrote a letter of the alphabet on the tummy of each one for my preschooler to use for letter recognition, practising phonics and beginning to make letter-like shapes in the salt.
As before, I primarily focused on using letters found within her name, and also made some extra cards so that we could spell out her whole name in order for her to copy out. Starting with letters that are meaningful and relevant to the child is important, and helps to confirm that graphemes represent something special to them.
For the others I made some sight word cards for them to copy. They had to find the right word after I called it out, then practise writing it in the tray. They tested each other too and tried to build simple sentences.
We used a natural wood pencil, blunted so that it wouldn’t draw on the box beneath, and wrapped a little red and white Christmas twine around it to make it more festive! It’s great to use a different writing tool in these trays as well as encouraging them to use their finger tips, to encourage kinaesthetic learning.
I then added some number cards for my 7 year old, so that she could find some number facts and solve problems by writing the answers in the tray. Eg the cards said “30+ 18”, “35-6”, “2×4” etc, This was a fun and challenging extension and goes to show again that learning in a sensory, whole-body way is great for the brain for ALL ages. I imagine we will still be doing things like this all the way up to high school age! I probably still learn best like this at age 36! 🙂
Love these ideas? Please share them! Thank you.
You might like our: Christmas Tree Sensory Tray
See all of our other SENSORY LEARNING TRAYS here (there are LOTS of themes!)
See our PLAYFUL LITERACY activities here. Fun ways to learn to read, write and tell stories!
See my LITERACY PLAY Pinterest board for loads more ideas too.
Follow Anna @ The Imagination Tree’s board Literacy Play Ideas on Pinterest.