Monday, November 21, 2011

Sand on the Light Box: Pre-Writing

I sat down on the computer and made some simple design cards. I intended to print them on cardstock and laminate them, but ran out of time so I just printed mine on regular paper.

Then I set up the two light boxes with the translucent shallow boxes and sand. I held up one card at a time and encouraged the children to try to copy the design in the sand. I gave feedback, tips, and encouragement as necessary. Michael could copy all of the simple shapes on his own and did pretty well with some tips on the more complex shapes. Ava was able to copy the very simple shapes on her own, the intermediate shapes with some tips, and the complex shapes with a lot of assistance.

This is an excellent activity for developing pre-writing skills. Pre-writing skills develop the fine motor strength and control necessary and the hand-eye coordination for writing without actually holding a writing implement (crayon, pencil, marker, etc.).

Here are the cut out cards and some examples of the children's copying. Michael used the orange sand and Ava used the blue.

Ideas to expand this activity:
  1. Have the children name the shape (if it is simple) or name the shapes that make up a more complex shape. For example, "This is a square with a plus inside."
  2. Show the card and ask the child to make a big, medium, or small version.
  3. Add something to the picture. For example, show the oval and ask, "Can you draw this oval with a triangle on top?" (or underneath, or to the left, or to the right, etc.)
  4. Subtract something from the picture. For example, "Can you draw this house without the roof?
  5. Show two cards and ask them to draw both in their sand box at the same time. They will need to learn, through trial and error, how big to make each and how to leave room for the second while making the first.


  1. Your light boxes look different than the ones in your tutorial - how did you get the higher sides to keep the sand in?

  2. Those are actually some translucent trays placed on top of the light box. They work perfectly for activities where you need sides. I used them for the oil and water and the baking soda and vinegar activities on the light box too.

    Mine are the Itso Wide Trays from target. Itso is a storage system they sell. The trays are with the rest of the components of the system. You could probably get them online too. I have some Itso storage stuff and noticed that those trays are the perfect size to fit on my light boxes.

  3. Thanks Dala, I've been thinking about making some light boxes but haven't found the right containers yet.

  4. These printables are wonderful. Thanks for sharing!

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  6. I see now this has to do with apraxia of speech? How do the symbols help with speech?


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