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February 3, 2012

Ocean Animals and Phonics Squishy Bag

We love squishy sensory bags.  They can be used for babies through older children.  Toddlers can play I spy with squishy sensory bags.  Preschoolers can practice writing letters with these tactile bags.  Babies can explore toys and small objects safely when inside a sensory squishy bag.  (Always monitor babies and toddlers during play.)  We love to make games out of sensory bags.

All you need to make a squishy sensory bag is a ziploc baggie and hair gel.  You can add food coloring if you want it tinted.  I left ours clear and added the animals from our sea creatures pack and the beginning letter for the following ocean animals:
  • fish
  • walrus
  • crab
  • lobster
  • eel
  • shark
  • octopus
  • (sea) anemone

I put the squishy sensory bag on the light box and let JZ (4) and J-Bug (2) explore it with their hands for a bit.

After awhile of squishing, poking and naming the sea animals I started asking JZ what letter each one started with.  He sounded them out and pushed and prodded the correct letter until it was next to the corresponding sea creature.

The picture isn't clear.  There is an A next to an anemone.

J-Bug had fun just squishing and saying, "Look at all those ABC's, Mommy!"

Squishy sensory bags are a wonderful tool for fine motor practice.  The muscles needed for pushing and prodding the animals and the letters towards each other are the same muscles used for writing.  This is a fun way to strengthen those muscles.

In addition to fine motor practice this is a fun and simple way to reinforce letters and sounds.

Sensory bags can be used without a light table.  We love the added sensory bonus with a light table.

For more ideas for letter sounds and beginning readers visit my ABC Activities board on Pinterest. 

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More phonics games:
Do your children enjoy squishy sensory bags?  I'd love to hear about the bags you've created for them.

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