In recent years sensory play in the form of sensory bins, bottles and bags has gained tremendous popularity. Such activities play an important role in the developmental journey of children. Sensory play encourages kids to explore and learn using their hands, eyes, hearing sense of smell and taste.
In a paper called the “Benefits of Sensory Learning,” the authors discuss how the human brain has evolved to function optimally in a multisensory environment. Thus, it is important to expose children to a variety of stimuli as often as possible.
But leaving science aside, sensory bins and bags are simply fun. Looking at my 3-year-old little boy who doesn’t sit still for very long I’m extremely happy when I see how engaged and enthralled he is by such a simple activity.
So today I am going to share with you some ideas on how to use a rice sensory bag to practice the alphabet and basic spelling.
This rice alphabet sensory bag is extremely easy to set up, it literally takes minutes and it’s guaranteed to help your little one practice letter recognition in a fun and engaging way.
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The beauty of these alphabet sensory bags is that you don’t need many materials and they are very accessible. Here is what you need for this rice sensory bag.
- Ziploc freezer bags
- Rice or any other fine grains like semolina, couscous, salt or even sand.
- Alphabet Letters (these are the magnetic ones that we used but these will work wonderfully as well
- Letter cards printable (free to download)
How to make an alphabet sensory bag
- First fill your Ziploc bag with your grains of choice.
- Decide on the alphabet game that you want to play and add the letters to the bag
- Seal the bag making sure that you leave no air inside.
- For extra security, you can tape your bag (I’ve learnt this the hard way). Also choose a place that is easy to clean in case of an accident.
What games can you play with the DIY sensory bag?
- Put all the letters of the alphabet in the bag.
- Take the alphabet cards, shuffle them and place them upside down.
- Extract an alphabet card from the deck.
- Find the letter in the rice sensory bag as quickly as possible
- Continue the game by extracting another card and finding the letter.
*This is a great game for kids who are already somewhat familiar with the alphabet.
- Choose 3-4 letter cards and place them above the alphabet sensory bag.
- Put the same letters inside the bag
- Start searching for letters in the bag. Once you find a letter, name it and turn the corresponding alphabet card upside down.
- Optional: you can also think of a word that starts with that letter.
- Continue in the same manner until all the letters in the bag have been found and the cards turned upside down.
*I chose this game for my little boy because he has learnt only 4 letters at school so far and this was the perfect game to reinforce them.
Game 3 ( CVC simple spelling) Version 1
- Choose a few alphabet cards with the CVC words that you want to practice.
- Place one alphabet card above the bag
- Put the corresponding letters in the alphabet sensory bag
- Try reading the word on the card before finding the letters
- Find the letters in the bag as fast as possible, naming each letter as you discover it.
- After finding all the letters, read the word once again.
What more CVC Games? Check out these fantastic CVC words Activities and Worksheets (download them for FREE)
- Choose the alphabet card with the word that you want to practice and place it upside down
- Put the corresponding letters in the sensory bag
- Have the child discover the letters one by one
- *Optional: Depending on the level, ask the child to write down the letters on a piece of paper.
- Now it’s time to form the word using the three letters
- Lastly, turn over the alphabet card to see if the word is correct.
*This is a game for kids who are familiar with the alphabet and are at the stage where they can blend sounds together to form CVC words
Why should you try this rice alphabet sensory bag?
I don’t know how your kids are but my son loves tactile sensory activities. They keep him engaged and focused for minutes on end which, from my point of view is fantastic.
So, besides holding their attention, this rice alphabet sensory bag will encourage your little one(s) to practice letter recognition and spelling in a fun, hands-on way.
Another reason why you should try this sensory activity is that it’s less messy than a sensory bin which is a win for us, isn’t it?
Of course, if you want to make it even more exciting, you can dye the rice which will add a nice visual component to the activity.
Download the Alphabet Cards for FREE from here:
Easy and quick to set up, mess-free, cheap materials, great fun- the perfect activity. Are you going to try this rice alphabet sensory bag?
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Mom of two wonderful children, dedicated teacher and book lover.