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This idea caught my eye as another fun, kinesthetic way to work on letter formations. I’m always looking for out-of-the-box ways for kids to work on handwriting skills, other than just sitting with a pencil and paper. Boring.
You can see the original pin here. It led me with the pretty basic idea of mixing hair gel, glitter, and a few buttons in a bag. Sounds like the ingredients for a good time, right?
The first step was gathering the necessary supplies. For some reason when I was at the store, I just grabbed the biggest tub of yellow hair gel, not really thinking it through. When I got it in the bag it was too transparent, as if the gel wasn’t even there.
I didn’t like this look, so I added a few drops of blue food coloring, and got a much better color to work with. You can still see the letters, but the opaque nature of the gel encourages the children to “find” their name.
I went ahead and added the glitter because I happened to have some around the house. (As everyone does, I assume…) Was the glitter necessary? No. Was it fabulous? YES.
The best part was that I thought it might really stand out on my DIY light box that keeps coming back to earn its keep. And it did. The picture doesn’t really do it justice, so you’ll just have to trust me on the sparkly amazing-ness.
Now, let’s get to the usefulness of this activity. I had the children try to trace their names using the button in the bag, but this was very tricky. Many children wanted to place their finger directly on the button to move it around, but this doesn’t work well. You have to guide the button by placing your finger behind it and pushing it around.
Once the children learned this technique it was easier for them to move the button. However, this tactic didn’t really work well for certain letters. Think of the letter F: you make a line down, then “jump” back to the top, which is impossible to replicate with this activity. The children just slid the button around haphazardly as they tried to move it back to the top of their letter.
To remedy this issue, I just scrapped the button idea and had them trace the letters with their finger. We did this with pre-writing shapes as well. I liked that it worked on finger isolation, providing a bit of resistance as well.
Now, with all of that said, I should point out that almost every single child just preferred to squish the bag as soon as I handed it over. And I mean seriously squish the bag. I’m a store brand shopper, children, so needless to say I was a bit worried about springing a leak. Thankfully, it held up and at the very least, became a pretty popular fidget/sensory activity.
Overall a quick, inexpensive activity. I’ll say it was at least worth the try.
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