Writing Activity for Storytime and Beyond

This week, our blog comes to us from another guest blogger, Lindsay Huth, from Arapahoe Libraries. Thank you, Lindsay! If you have content you would like to share on the CLEL Blog, please email mpearl@denverlibrary.org.


Have you ever tried having kids write with dry paint brushes in a tray covered with salt? This

activity has been around for years, and while you may have heard of it before, the idea was

totally new to four-year-old Matt.

Matt’s mother was feeling discouraged with Matt’s limited interest in writing with pencils and

crayons on paper. But given the novel combination of salt and dry paint brushes, Matt wrote

for the full thirty minutes of early literacy-based playtime that’s part of each Stories and More,

our monthly program in partnership with the Arapahoe County Early Childhood Council. Matt’s

mom was excited to try this easily replicated writing activity at home, paired with suggestions

and tips I’d provided about how writing in salt trays can help children develop fine motor skills,

hand-eye coordination, and letter knowledge. I also sent each family home with a sheet of

uppercase letters. This sheet could be used to help children write their own letters in the salt,

or it could be placed in the tray and covered with salt to create an “I Spy” letter activity.

To make the colored tray lining, simply line up different colored pieces of paper to fit the tray

and then laminate the sheet. If you don't have trays, cardboard lids from printer paper boxes will work. Place it in the tray, and cover it with salt. I put both chubby paint brushes and thinner, watercolor paint brushes out for the children to use. When children write and draw in the salt, the brushes will leave behind a rainbow trail!

Lindsay Huth

Early Literacy Outreach Librarian

Arapahoe Libraries

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