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How to Teach Your Child to Write Their Name Using a Salt Sensory Tray

Our salt sensory tray has been in frequent use lately as a tool for beginning writing.  Salt has the benefit of being slightly translucent so you can provide a writing guide sheet underneath for your child to follow as they learn to write their name.

Writing in a sensory tray with salt

Our tray is made from a wooden box that some blocks came in, but you can also pour salt onto a cookie sheet or other  tray.  The box just has the benefit of being able to close up to use again.

  • Write your child’s name on a slip of paper and place it on the bottom of the box.  We started with all capital letters because he was overwhelmed looking at the lowercase letters.
  • Pour salt over the name.
  • A gentle shake distributes the salt over the writing.
  • Your child can still see the letters beneath the salt and use them as a guide.
  • If your child would like, you may guide their hand at first to show the direction the letters are written.

We use our salt tray for sensory integration (just swishing fingers in and playing,) for practicing letters, and as a base for imaginary play scenes. The ability to just shake away mistakes can be very liberating to children who have a perfectionists streak as they learn name writing.Helping brother write in sensory trayDo you have a favorite way to teach your child to write their name?  This is one thing my four year old is into lately.

Have your own preschooler at home? Here are a few of our favorite sensory ideas:

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Alissa Zorn is an author, and founder of the website Overthought This. She's a coach and cartoonist passionate about helping people overcome perfectionism and shame to build authentic, joyful lives. Alissa is certified through the International Coach Federation and got her Trauma-Informed Coaching certification from Moving the Human Spirit. She wrote Bounceback Parenting: A Field Guide for Creating Connection, Not Perfection, and is always following curiosity to find her next creative endeavor.