Sandpaper Letter Tracing

by Kim

This was taught to me by a developmental therapist and I used this technique with one of my foster sons that had sensory issues. I never thought to do it for help with recognition for shapes, letters, and numbers. Duh! But I finally made the connection last month when I had the daunting task of coming up with activities for my children during a 6 hour car ride. You will see what I am talking about in a second.

The only things you will need for this activity are sandpaper, crayons (I used oil pastels since they are softer), and yarn. Yep, that’s it.

Draw any shape, letter, number, pretty much anything onto a piece of sandpaper.

This is especially helpful for me because our school system uses D’nealian handwriting techniques and you cannot find that as easily as traditional font activities.

Now give your child a piece of yarn (about 12 inches) and let them “trace” the shape or letter with the yarn.

*Please be careful, long strands of yarn can be dangerous for small children. This activity can easily use two pieces of yarn for a shape if needed. Only you know what your child is ready for.

Even though my son is past letter recognition, he had to join in because my daughter was having too much fun.

A neat benefit to this activity is that the sandpaper grips the yarn. So the yarn will stay in place as your child manipulates it along the paper. This is what makes it so awesome for travel, too. The yarn will stay where you put it. Now if your child waves the paper wildly declaring, “I did it!” the yarn will move a bit. As you can see. ;)

Are you going to use shapes, letters, numbers, or do you have another idea? Please share.

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Kim is a contributing writer for No Time For Flash Cards, a mom to a toddler, a preschooler, and a foster parent, too. She juggles her day by trying out fun activities and crafts with the kids. After all, she is just a big kid herself. See what she has been up to over at Mom Tried It

Letter of the Week – L Love

For the past few weeks the most popular searches bringing traffic to my site have been “Letter of the Week” and ” Valentine’s Craft” so today I thought I would try to satisfy both and make a Valentine’s Day Letter of the Week. This L is super easy to make and fast too. You can make it easier with paint , or more complex by having your child draw pictures of the people they love instead of using photos.  The goal is to have fun with the letter so tailor it to your child and their favorite materials.

  1. Before gathering your materials, sit down with your child and ask them who they love. Find photos or have your child draw pictures of these people.
  2. Gather your materials. You will need some cardboard, tissue paper, tape, family photos, heart punch , red paper, glue and scissors.
  3. Start by cutting the cardboard into a L .
  4. I used gift wrap tissue paper to cover the L  but this was only per my son’s specific request. You can paint, color with crayons, glitter… whatever your child is into . Keeping crafts fun means keeping your kids learning and playing with letters!
  5. If you are using tissue paper tape it on – another big treat for my son, using the tape!
  6. While my son taped I trimmed the family photos.
  7. Next add glue for the photos.
  8. Pop them on.  Let dry.

Books We Love

Valentine’s Day by Anne Rockwell and Lizzy Rockwell is a lovely book with a a cute twist. The story follows a class making special valentines for each other , some are very touching others goofy. The story doesn’t reveal who the Valentine’s are for. There are pictures of the same girl with the various students though so after a while you are clued into that they are for her we still don’t know why. I was so worried she was sick in the hospital, as it turns out the class goes to the post office to send it away to a classmate that is far far away! I like the idea of a class all writing to a friend far away, focusing on friendship and not candy! I also love any book that causes my son to say ” Let’s go see a map of where she lives mama!”

If You’ll Be My Valentine by Cynthia Rylant is a great book for preschoolers because it doesn’t just focus on romantic love or love of a parent and child but rather love of all the things this little boy is grateful for. He writes little valentines to his family members, teddy bear, even the bird and tree outside. It’s very sweet and cute without making you cringe one bit!  My son loved this one , it was perfect for a 3 year old.

I Lost My Kisses by Trudie Trewin is cute story about a little cow who has lost her kisses! She looks everywhere for them, gives wonderful descriptions of what kisses are, sound and feel like but she just can’t find them. The thing is , is that she is picking her daddy up at the airport and has to give him a kiss when he arrives! Luckily her heart find them when she sees her daddy.  My son loved this book, he is an affectionate kid and loves to tease us that he is “all out of kisses” so this book was right up his alley! Very cute and I love the mostly black and white illustrations by Nick Bland.

Preschool Letter Activities

Guest Post by Jenae – I Can Teach My Child

Young children need plenty of opportunities recognizing and forming letters before they can become proficient at writing them.  Since the fine motor dexterity to form letters on paper sometimes doesn’t come until late in the preschool years, creativity is key!  When an activity blends multiple domains of early childhood development, this helps to engage your child even more. Here are just a few ideas for teaching letter recognition and letter formation in a fun and engaging way!

Window Streamer Letters
All you need for this activity is several small suction cup hooks and crepe paper streamers.
Place the suctions in the shape of the specific letter you are working on.  Then tear off small pieces of the crepe paper streamer and let your child place them on the suction cup hooks to form the letter.  The wonderful thing about this activity is that it blends language development (learning to recognize the letter) with fine motor development (the small muscles in the hands used to attach the streamer to the suction cup hooks).
Magic Wand Writing in the Air

Attach several pieces of ribbon or yarn to one end of a

dowel rod.  Let your little one create the letters in the air using the “magic wand.”
Playdough Snake Letters
Write a large letter on a piece of paper.  Show your child how to roll the playdough in order to create a “snake.”  Then have him (or her) trace the shape of the letter using the playdough snake!

What fun ways do you and your child practice forming letters?

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Jenae is a wife, mother of two boys’ ages 3 and 1, and former first-grade teacher. She loves spending time with her family and sharing fun and educational activities for young children on her blog I Can Teach My Child!

Letter of The Week- Quilt Q

I had every intention of making this a lowercase q craft. The stars were simply not aligned, I turned 3 pieces of paper into scrap trying to make a lowercase q , cursed myself for not having a printer then made it an uppercase Q before my son lost all interest and ran back to the football game!  Luckily the paper cutter was the big treat ( He has been begging to use it for months)  and kept him at the table with me , because I think this is a darn cute letter craft!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some white paper, some multicolored paper for the quilt pieces , another sheet of construction paper ( if you want to display it), a dark marker, glue and scissors.  We used a paper cutter but I am not suggesting you do that,  I do suggest you let your child use tools when they are ready for them, and he was ready and very careful.
  2. Start by writing an uppercase Q  on the white paper. Feel free to do this as a lowercase craft just don’t ask me to write the letter, I am incapable. You want to use the white paper so that when you cut the q out you can follow the outline from the underside even if the paper pieces are glued over it.
  3. Cut the colored/patterned paper into strips , this will make cutting them into squares easier for your child whether they are using scissors or a paper cutter.
  4. Cut.
  5. He was very excited and he cut a lot , I was impressed with how careful he was.
  6. Add glue to the Q
  7. Add the quilt squares to the glue.
  8. Let dry.
  9. Cut the Q out.
  10. Glue to a second sheet of construction paper.

Alphabet Books


Bruno Munari’s ABC by Bruno Munari will make you wish you had an extra copy to  pull out the pages and frame them. It’s  1960 retro gold. The book is simple enough, each page is devoted to a letter like most alphabet books, and on those pages are objects that start with the letter. There are cheeky bits of dry humor throughout as a fly shows up on pages after F and my son liked the S page with a sack of stars and snow for Santa. All in all a little different but not ground breaking.  However the way it is graphically designed perfectly captures the retro cool that simply can’t be recreated with a new book. My son liked it but wasn’t nearly as into it as I was.

Alphabestiary: Animal Poems from A to Z by Jane Yolen is a great alphabet book for children who know their letters and need something a little extra. It’s a book of animal poems starting with Anteater and ending with Zebra. What I really like about this book is that you can use it in so many ways depending on your child’s knowledge of animals and the alphabet. You can have them choose a letter and read all the poems for it, choose an animal or even choose by flipping through and finding illustrations you like. This isn’t a book you read from cover to cover, it’s an anthology with poems selected by Jane Yolen. The poems are fun and it’s a greta way to transfer learning about letters into learning about poetry.

Letter Of The Week C

Need ideas for your letter of the week curriculum ? Look no further. Not only do we have letter crafts we have crafts and activities that start with all the letters too! This week it’s the letter C . Cactus,  Cats, Caterpillars, Comets and more! Also don’t miss the alphabet books, it’s important not to only focus on the letter, but teach it in a meaningful and holistic way, alphabet books are a great way to do that.

{Letter Crafts}

Candy C - Carrot C - Caterpillar C - Comet CCookie C


{Activities and Crafts That Start With C}

Cactus- Candy Cane- Car Wash- Carrot- Cars-Castle- Cat Caterpillar- Cloud

Coffee Grinds Sensory Tub- Coffee Shop- Cookies- Corn- Crab- Cupcakes

{Alphabet Books }

Sleepy ABC by Margaret Wise Brown . Although I have a legendary hatred of Runaway Bunny I generally love this author. I like this book, and the illustrations will zip you back in time for sure.  Unlike many alphabet books it has a great rhythm for reading it all without breaks.  My one complaint is that the child is tucked into bed then a few letters later is out listening to a story from another woman not their mom. I am not sure perhaps those are different children, didn’t bug my son one bit, but left me wondering. Like the title suggests it’s a good alphabet book for a bedtime read, it even ends with something I say often ” Go To Sleep!”.

The Graphic Alphabet by David Pelletier is a fun book to share with a child who has already mastered the alphabet, because this book is challenging. Each letter is shown in it’s own illustration, but you aren’t sure exactly what the picture is of, this is the challenge. As you can see on the cover it has an avalanche, the hardest one for me was N no matter how I looked at the picture I thought it was of magnets! Turns out it was noodles! Very fun book for kids that already know their letters and are up for a challenge.

A Is for Zebra by Mark Shulman is a fun and unique alphabet book. Perfect for children who have mastered letter recognition and are up for a fun challenge. The trick is that each letter is represented by the last letter of the coordinating picture . A is for zebra ! You will have fun finding the letter on each page as well as items in the adorable illustrations by Tamara Petrosino.