This month’s Virtual Book Club for Kids’ selection is the gorgeous classic, The Tale of Peter Rabbit. My kids love anything to do with gardening and botany, so creating a mini “garden” to use as a Montessori writing tray seemed like the perfect easy activity to set-up after reading the book!
The Montessori writing tray is a really simple concept that any family or classroom can use. The concept behind it is that writing is a gross motor skill and a muscle memory skill. Notice how people have different handwriting styles, or are you the kind of person who can jot down notes while not looking at the paper? This is because your muscles have memory of writing those letters from repeated experience.
You don’t have to be doing “the full Montessori” to implement the pieces that work for your family. Technically, the writing tray is supposed to be used alongside the sandpaper letters, but it is still a great pre-writing activity all on it’s own.
Make a Garden Writing Tray
First, gather your materials:
- Large tray with deep sides
- Coffee grinds (dry)
- Index cards with line patterns, shapes, and letters drawn on them
- Something to smooth the coffee grinds – back of a comb, clean dish scraper, etc
- Small garden hoe or rake, optional
Our garden hoe is borrowed from our Montessori Pink Series – it’s the kind you find in the doll house accessory or fairy garden section of craft stores. You could also borrow one from a zen garden if you have one.
Pour the coffee grinds into the tray and smooth them with the back of the comb or the dish scraper to ensure even coverage.
How to Use a Garden Writing Tray
Have your child start by tracing the shape or letter on the index card. Then have them replicate that shape in the coffee grinds. They can use two fingers stuck together (just like bunny ears!) or the little hoe or rake – this kind of doubles as “pencil practice” and helps work on those fine motor muscles, too.
Once your child has completely traced the shape, have them compare their tracing to the index card. Then gently tap the tray to resettle the coffee grinds, or use the comb to smooth out the grinds before moving on to the next card.
My kids loved this fun Peter Rabbit-inspired variation of our writing tray – especially those cute little garden tools!
What’s your child’s favourite way to practice their writing skills?
Check out these other fun Peter Rabbit-inspired activities from my Virtual Book Club for Kids co-hosts:
- The Tale of Peter Rabbit ABC Carrot Patch by Growing Book by Book
- Name Tracing Rabbit Fun by The Educators’ Spin On it
- Carrot Number Matching Activity by 3 Dinosaurs
- Peter Rabbit Sensory Bin by Still Playing School
- Rabbit Food Lettuce Wraps for Kids to Make by Rainy Day Mum
- Plant Science Experiment Inspired by Peter Rabbit by Inspiration Laboratories
- Carrot Painting Pre-Writing Practice by Preschool Powol Packets
- Feed the Rabbit Activity by Mom Inspired Life
- Peter Rabbit Paper Plate Pop-Up Garden by I Can Teach My Child
- Bunny Treat Bags by Mama Miss
- Bunny Cracker Snack by The Pleasantest Thing