Writing trays are a fantastic way to help kids work on handwriting, letter formation, and pre-writing skills. You can find them used in schools, clinics, preschools, early learning centers, and homeschool dinging rooms. There is a reason that writing trays are a popular way to encourage fine motor skills and an introduction to handwriting; They use a tactile sensory strategy to encourage movement in learning in a multi-sensory way. Writing Trays make letter formation fun and meaningful in a play-based manner.
Try this easy rice writing tray for a simple sensory writing experience.
What is a Writing Tray?
Writing Trays are a creative way to help kids learn to write letters, numbers, shapes, and pre-writing strokes. There are a ton of different ways that writing trays can be set up and used in letter formation. Essentially, a writing tray uses a low container (or TRAY) and a medium that can be moved and shifted for writing.
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What is in a Writing Tray? (Writing Tray Fillers)
Writing Trays are filled with a filler that us manipulated and shifted so that letters or writing lines are visible. Some ideas for filling a writing tray include:
Slime (Check out the fun we had with slime in a writing tray!)
While sometimes, a child can use their finger to form the lines in their writing tray, a writing tool is typically recommended. (More on that below.)
Use Writing Trays to Work on Handwriting and Letter Formation:
- Make sure letters are not formed in parts. In other words, don’t allow kids to make a circle and then a line to form an “a”.
- Make sure letters are formed from top to bottom.
- Realize that the motor plan to form letters with your finger is different than the motor plan to form letters with a pencil or other pencil-like writing tool.
Fine Motor Skills and Writing Trays
Positioning absolutely carries over to letter formation and handwriting.
- Place the writing tray on a slight slant. Try using a DIY slant board.
- Use a low edged tray.
- Use verbal, physical, and visual cues for appropriate positioning.
- Position the writing tool in your child’s hand with an appropriate tripod or modified tripod grasp.
- Show the child how to hold the tool at the end of the tool as if they were holding a pencil.
A few MORE creative fillers to add to your writing tray: