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Pumpkin Spice Latte Writing Tray

It is officially Pumpkin Spice Latte season!  Even if you don't like the hot coffee drink, there are still plenty of other pumpkin spice products to chose from!  Everything from cereal flavors to snack mix and dog toys to kids' toys screams out the merits of pumpkin spice.  My personal favorite is pumpkin muffins.  I think I've made a batch every week!

If you've been following this blog recently, you know that I'm loving sensory writing trays lately.  They're awesome for encouraging reluctant writers, they can be easily customized to any theme, and they're cheap!  It's just as easy to make one of them as it is to make an entire classroom set of them, so they're great for morning busy bins, homeschooling, or sensory play.

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This sensory writing tray starts with a base of orange salt, which I dyed with red and yellow food coloring.  I only used about a tablespoon of salt, so it's very economical even if you mess up the coloring a few times.  Then, to get the latte scent and coloring, I mixed in about a teaspoon of coffee grounds.  I really like how the coffee made the orange a lot darker and richer.  Next, I added some pumpkin spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger.  Mix it all together in a ziptop bag.

To set up the writing tray, download and print the pumpkin and latte letter cards from the PDF above.  Cut them out and give the child one card at a time.  Ask them to identify the letter and it's phonics sounds.  Sprinkle a small amount of colored salt onto a shallow tray (I used a lid) and have the child use their finger to write the letter.

Alternatively, the child could use other instruments to write in the salt if the grainy texture bothers them.  A coffee straw or stirrer would work well, as would a pumpkin pen if you wanted to keep with the pumpkin spice latte theme.  Oh!  Or what about a cinnamon stick!  I really like this special pumpkin paintbrush idea from Practically Pre-K on Instagram (she's been inspiring me so much lately), too.

The letter cards could also be used for memory matching games, practicing ABC order, spelling words, or making phonics sounds.  I recommend laminating them for extra durability and storing them in a cool, dark place to enjoy year after year.

We're looking at lots of ways to make writing fun at Rock Your Homeschool's summer link-up.  Click on the picture to see the whole list.  I'm looking forward to checking out all the ideas for our own homeschool.

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