13 DIY Tactile Ways to Practice Letters and Sounds


tactile blog post

There are so many great DIY tactile ideas for learning letters and sounds. These activities are fun for all learners.

My dyslexic kiddos need lots and lots of multisensory practice to learn their letter/ sound combinations. Here are some engaging ways to practice.

Check some out and add them to your back to school lesson plans!

These first five ideas all involve making cards that can be reused. To use them, the student finger traces the textured letters on the cards. Have them say the sound (and letter name if you wish) as they trace.

1. Puffy Paint Letters

2. Sandpaper Letters

I have a set of Montessori style sandpaper letters that I made 25 years ago. They are still being used by my students. I love the sandpaper letters for regular practice but also for crayon rubbings.


3. Glitter Letters

This shows glitter letters being used for sight words (cool!). The same idea could be used to make a set of tactile sound cards.

4. Pipe cleaner Letters

5. Felt Letters

These next ideas provide letter card templates for the student to fill in.

6. Wikki Stix

7. Playdough

The next ideas all writing the letters, rather than tracing them on a card. For these, you can use a set of letter cards or pull out the tactile cards from above.

I like to have my students use the pads of two fingers to write the letters. Some kids may resist touching the filled trays. In this case, you can use
paintbrushes or the eraser end of a pencil.

8. Sand Tray

9. Sprinkles!

10. Salt Tray

This one is especially fun with the rainbow underneath! Salt trays can irritate if the student has any cuts or sore spots on their fingers. I usually use brushes or pencils erasers for this activity.

If you have a light table you can put the sand on a transparent tray on top of the table. I’ve done this with colored sugar as well. It is lots of fun!


11. Shaving Cream

Less Messy Options include:

12. Plastic Canvas

This is my favorite. I use it all the time. I give each of my students a sheet of this to practice at home.

13. Gel Bags

This makes a fun activity to make during a lesson. I find that taping the bag to a white piece of cardboard or a tray makes it easier to use.


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