Using a sand tray with your preschoolers is a great way to get them mark-making and practicing letter formation.
This dinosaur sand tray uses our Dinosaur Alphabet cards to help your preschoolers form their letters.
We’ve used it regularly as part of our Dinosaur Weeks with our toddlers and preschoolers and have it set up to use whenever they want.
So here you go a very simple Dinosaur Themed Sand Tray for Mark Making and Letter Formation practice with preschoolers.
Dinosaur Alphabet Cards
Our dinosaur alphabet cards feature a fun dinosaur character with upper and lower case letters on the body.
We’ve done them in easy print for your little ones to be able to see the way that the letter is formed when they are learning to write.
Check out these other fun ways to learn the alphabet with our Fun and Simple Alphabet Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers.
The complete set of upper and lower case is available in our store along with some other dinosaur print, play and learn activities for you and your tots to do together.
Using a Sand Tray for Mark-Making And Learning to Write
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Sand trays are an easy prep activity for you and your little one to do to practice mark making.
Simply pour the sand into the tray.
Provide some mark-marking equipment and then a visual for them to use to copy in the sand.
What to use to Make Marks
It’s good to provide a variety of different tools to make the marks in the sand when your child is doing this.
- dinosaur tails
What to fill the sand tray with
As I mentioned above we use coloured sand at home with our toddler and preschooler this is because it’s readily available (we have it for crafting) and can use it time and time again just pour it back into the bottle.
However, you could also use
- Shaving Cream
- Hair Gel
Anything that your child can make a mark in and it stays for a while.
What Order to Teach the letters in with the sand trays?
There are lots of different theories in the order that the alphabet should be taught.
At home and in the classroom I’ve always followed the phonics curriculum that is popular in UK schools. Letters and Sounds.
This introduces the letters in an order that helps build reading success for the majority of the children instead of in alphabetical order.
So we start off with S A T P and move on through the letters.
Whilst working on the letter formation we also do activities that focus on building knowledge of the letter sounds and names of the letters. Like our Farm Beginning Sounds Activity.
Dinosaur Alphabet Sand Tray for Writing Practice with Preschoolers
- Small Tray
- Optional Laminator
- Download and print out the dinosaur alphabet cards. Cut into individual cards. Optional – laminate this will make them hard wearing and easy to use time and time again (bonus is that your preschooler can then use them to write over and trace the letters with a dry wipe marker!)
- Fill the shallow tray with the coloured sand.
- Pick out the letters that you are working on with your preschooler and place beside and above the salt try.
- You can theme it a little if you wish with dinosaur figures and toys or keep simple like we have.
Using the Dinosaur Sand Tray with your Preschooler
- Invite your preschooler to the activity.
- Show them how to make the marks in the sand.
- Review with them the different letters and supervise them making the marks.
More Sand Trays to Use with Preschoolers
More Dinosaur Themed Preschool Activities
- Dinosaur Upper and Lower Case Letter Matching Game
- Dinosaur Legs and Feet Sorting and Classifying Activity
- How Many? Dinosaur Maths for Preschoolers
Trisha is an educator with a passion for science literacy and mom to Aiden, Lily, and Elon.
She’s the creator of Inspiration Laboratories, a blog dedicated to encouraging learning through creativity and play.