These sensory writing bags are a great alternative to giving children pen and paper. They can be used to encourage early or beginning writers to make attempts at making marks, forming letters (or numbers). They can also be used many times over. Simple, cheap and fun, these sensory writing bags will help build a child’s confidence to start their writing journey.
Possum (aged 3 years) has become a lot more aware of language and how it’s used, in particular the written word. She enjoys watching me write shopping lists and even takes an interest in what a waitress records on a small note pads to take back into a cafe kitchen. At kinder she has also learnt that everything she owns needs to have her name on it so she has started to want to know how she can write her own name independently.
Her enthusiasm inspired me to make one of these fabulous sensory writing bags. Of course they can be used however your child pleases. They might like to draw shapes, scribble numbers or simply have fun drawing pictures, which is actually all considered to be the first stages of writing.
Recommended age: 2 years +
(Active supervision is required on all activities shared)
How to make a writing sensory bag
- Large zip lock bag
- Shaving cream
- Food colouring
There isn’t anything fancy when it comes to making one of these sensory writing bags. Obviously the size of the bag matters to how much shaving cream you use, but we used about 2 cups for these 30cm x 20cm bags, just enough to have it completely cover the surface. We then added about 2 tablespoons of food colouring to the bag before removing the air and sealing the ziplock bag completely. Very carefully you can get your child to start massaging the bag to spread the colour so it mixes with the shaving cream. You could use more than one colour and have your child experiment with mixing colours, just like you can see here.
Once you have mixed the colour with the shaving cream your child can start playing and making their scribbles or attempts at writing formed letters. Using a Q-Tip is a great way to make strong indentations in the shaving cream, but of course fingers work well too.
My advice when it comes to encouraging children to write is to keep it fun and without pressure. Praise all attempts, even if what they do is nothing that you can recognise. A swirl, a stripe, a loop are all wonderful beginning stages of writing, which we find in some letters anyway, so show them your enthusiasm for whatever they do! To keep children excited and enthusiastic to make writing attempts you need to support the process. It’s so very important. 🙂
These sensory writing bags are so much fun. You can get them to use their fingers to add to the sensory experience or even have them trace over something that you have pressed into bag.
Quite often I will set up an activity for Possum and then she goes about thinking up extra great ideas that takes her learning further. It’s so wonderful and I’m so pleased she enjoys extending our play ideas.
So while we were doing this activity Possum disappeared for a few minutes before returning with our magnetic letters from the fridge. Initially I thought it would be a good for her to have a go at copying the letters, but she had another great idea.
With a bit of experimentation, Possum began pressing letters into the soft shaving cream and making wonderful indentations. It was just so fabulous! Of course older children could have fun making and learning complete words using a similar technique. For Possum, as a preschooler, we really loved talking about each of the letters and their characteristics. It was an activity that seemed to be quite endless. I hope you and your children enjoy it.
How would your child play with one of these?
Here are some other great ideas –