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Freshwater Fish Sensory Writing Tray

All this week, I've been doing a salmon and freshwater fish theme with science, sensory, literacy, and more!  Today, I'm adding to my collection with a fishy writing tray.  This easy to set up activity is especially good for reluctant or beginner writers.  It would make an fun literacy station in a classroom, too.

Making Montessori-inspired salt trays for writing in many different themes is one of my favorite things.  I have trays (and FREE printables) for Mickey Mouse, watermelon, apple pie, monster trucks, and so many more.  They can be made for any theme, color, or occasion that you want.  Shoot me a message on Facebook or comment below if you have a theme you'd like to see!

For this fish tray, I used blue dyed salt, which is really easy to make.  Just dump however much salt you want to use (I did about two tablespoons) into a zip top bag and add 1 drop of blue food coloring.  If you want, you can try to make a more green grey color like a real river or lake would be colored, but it's not necessary.  Then, dump a small amount onto a tray and show the child how to make letters or shapes in the salt with their finger.

I used a Safari Ltd plastic salmon to set the mood, but you could also use another fish.  The salmon life cycle set would be a good idea too.  The extra toys aren't traditional in Montessori, but I think it adds another layer of enjoyment for kids and might help interest a reluctant writer to try out the tray.

> > > Click Here to Download < < < 

The printable for this activity is two sets of upper and lowercase alphabet cards.  One set has a blue background and an "empty" white letter, which the child can trace with a dry erase marker if you laminate them.  The other set (pictured) has a white background and a green letter.  Both sets feature a mature salmon clip art.  The uppercase cards have the salmon swimming to the left and the lowercase cards have the fish pointing to the right.  The differences in the cards is to help the child distinguish between the upper and lowercase letters.  Click the colored text to download the printable.

For extra fun, kids can use a modified fish pen to write the letters in the salt.  This pen is not currently available on Amazon, but there are several other options, which you can see by clicking the colored text.  To make the paint brush tip, I cut the tip off a cheap brush and put it where the ink part of the pen would normally come out.  With the pen in the picture, the tip (tail) screwed off and I was able to replace the piece very easily.  Alternatively, you could give kids an unsharpened pencil or regular paint brush and present the tools in this fun fish pencil bag.  Although the Montessori method recommends using a finger to write in the salt, the brush or another tool can be very helpful with sensory-avoidant kids, who may not like the feel of salt on their fingers.  It can also be good for younger kids, who may confuse the writing tray with a sensory bin.

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