For years my co-teacher has been doing a fun art activity with our PreK students to learn about symmetry. The activity uses crushed colored eggshells as collage material on butterfly cutouts. The students create the same designs on one side of the butterfly as the other for a lesson in symmetry. You can see an example of this activity on my No Time For Flash Cards Instagram here. After this lesson, I was looking at the leftover eggshells, and it hit me that this would make a beautiful and enticing Easter writing tray. Our PreK students enjoy forming letters, and this writing tray will give them another opportunity to work on that skill playfully. Sensory writing trays like this also allow students to make shapes, simply experience the feeling of the shells with their fingers or using a tool like a paintbrush, without an adult agenda. This sensory writing tray can be an open-ended activity, or you can make it more structured with a few changes.
Gather your materials. The shells you see here amount to about six large eggs; you will also need food color, bowls or ziplock bags ( one per color), a tray, and a paintbrush. If you want children to work on specific letters, you’ll need letter cards.
Start by dyeing your eggshells. My co-teacher is a wealth of knowledge, and she told me that the best way to make this is to hard boil the eggs, peel them, crush the eggshells, and then dye. This makes the best-colored eggshell pieces.
To make the tray: simply spread the shells on the tray and add a tool for writing. I like using darker trays for writing trays like this because the letter or shape created shows better against the light shells.
How to Use A Writing Tray in a Small Group
I like asking my students if they can make the first letter of their name. Even the children not interested in writing want to do this.
If they are still interested, ask if they can spell their name?
Show your students a lowercase letter magnet and ask them to write the matching uppercase letter.
Children who have mastered these simpler skills try to mix in other learning, like asking if they can write the letter that makes specific sounds. Or is the first letter of a specific word. There are many ways to make this simple writing tray work for every student.
Of course, at free choice, just let them play. Make designs; I guarantee you will get a few happy faces!
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