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January 29, 2009
using sand to practice spelling

Practice Spelling Words using Sand

A favorite activity of many children is practicing their spelling words in sand. It’s like playing in the sand box but with a purpose! Feeling the texture of the sand as your child writes each letter is great for kinesthetic learners.

Sand Lesson

sand (approximately 1 cup)
tray or cookie sheet with an edge so the sand doesn’t go everywhere
spelling words from group A or B, depending on how you want to set it up
sheet protector

Steps for Group B Words:

  1. Place the spelling word from group B inside of the sheet protector. The sheet protector protects the word and you can use it multiple times.
  2. Then place the word that is in the sheet protector on the tray or cookie sheet.
  3. Pouring a small amount of sand on the word.
  4. Let your son practice writing his spelling words in the sand using his finger tip and saying the letters at the same time.

Steps for Group A Words:

  1. Place the individual words directly in front of your son so he can see the letters as he is making them.
  2. Pouring a small amount of sand in a tray or cookie sheet.
  3. Let your child practice writing his spelling words in the sand using his finger tip and saying the letters at the same time.


1. Make your own colored sand with food coloring or tempera paint but you have to wait a day or two to use them otherwise your fingers will turn that color.

food coloring
containers for mixing

Here is what you do:

Simply place sand in a container, cover it with enough water to submerge the granules and then add copious amounts of food coloring. Let the mixture stand until you get the color you like, this may take time. Drain away the extra water and let the sand dry on paper towels.

This recipe works for small amounts of sand, or the amounts you are willing to let sit in piles around your house as it dries. It makes for an afternoon of good fun for just about any age.

2. Orton Gillingham has wonderful colored sand that my students have always enjoyed using. Pour the sand in the tray. Then shake the tray gently, the sand will levels off making one color predominate. But as your child writes his letters in the sand, it “magically” turns to another color.

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