Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Mark making in salt

Finding getting your child interested in writing letters a challenge? Have you tried writing with something other than a pencil and paper? Why not try salt writing. The only things you need are salt, a tray and fingers.
This month Bee will be experiencing activities to develop her letter formations. As you know children get easily bored when sitting at a table,with a pen and paper. A hands on activity will capture their creativity and keep them on task for longer. When working in a UK state school we used the Letters and Sounds document composed by the department of education and skills. The document provided tools to teach children high quality phonics, by using hands on experiences and activities.
Once they have finished creating their literacy masterpiece, just give the tray a gentle shake to begin the experience once again.

Who can play?
Children aged 2 years plus. Depending on their age and stage of development.

What do you need?
  • Tray
  • Salt
  • Fingers
Discourage children from eating the salt, as this can make them sick.

What did we do?
Salt was placed on a serving tray and gently shaken to spread it out evenly. Paper was placed on the floor to protect it and a brush and shovel placed close by, for little spills. The area was prepared  whilst Bee was at preschool, so as soon as she came home she came straight to the activity.
 She had lots of questions such as "what is this?" "what do you do?" showing a lot of interest. I suggested that she could experiment with the salt first, make marks and then we would go on to attempt to write some letters by using the correct formations.
By using her pointer finger she began swirling it around in the salt, making circles, patterns and people. 
Once she had covered the tray with her marks, I showed her how to carefully shake the tray back and forth to smooth the salt, so she could write on it again.
 After about three times of exploring the salt on her own, we talked about some of the letters she knew. Bee said that her favourite was S as it looked like a snake. To start her off I made some dots in the salt in the shape of a letter S. Bee followed the direction of the S over the top of the dots, going from the top to the bottom.

She then attempted to draw her own S.

We did this with the letter a, o, c and f. To add a bit of humor, I made some nonsense words up such as c o f f and wrote them in the salt with dots for her to follow. Once she had joined the dots together, we blended the letter sounds together to sound out the word. Bee thought that this was funny and we had to write more words, which she 'traced' over.

The salt was then placed in a Tupperware container, so that it can be used in another activity.

What did we learn?
  • Communication and language-Asking questions,talking about what they are doing and listening to instructions.
  • Physical development- Fine manipulative skills when using pointer finger to write in the salt. Large manipulative skills when shaking the tray. Hand-eye coordination.
  • Personal, social and emotional- Developing self help, when shaking the tray by themselves.Pride form finished product.
  • Literacy- Linking sounds to letters, learning how to read and write and letter formations.
  • Mathematics- Shapes, space and measurement.
  • Expressive arts and design- Pattern making and being creative.
What could be done next?

  • Substitute the salt for glitter
  • Add tools such as small brushes or cotton buds to use to mark make.
  • Place paint on a tray and write in it. Paper can be placed on the top to take a print of the writing.

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