Here’s Why My DIY Squishy Bags Weren’t a Complete Fail, and You Should Try Them Too

Tactile letters are a prewriting tool you can use with your preschoolers before they are truly ready to handle a pencil. I read about it in our curriculum (ABC Jesus Loves Me). This is an example of great early childhood education insight that I missed when studying to be a k-12 reading specialist. I was prepared to teach my daughter reading readiness, and although I have taught many students to write, I did not know much about “writing readiness.” I love being on this journey because there is always more to learn!

The last two years I’ve been learning about speech development and motor skills. You know we have so much at our fingertips now? Any of us can be qualified to fully equip our children for what they need in this life. Statements like this usually move in the direction of “to homeschool or not to homeschoolbut here’s the truth: every child that sets foot in a public school classroom brings with them the “schooling” they got at home whether it was intentional or not. You are your child’s lifetime teacher whether you include more teachers in their life via school enrollment or take the bulk of the load yourself. They are learning something in your 4 walls 👍🏼😉 and most teachers will agree with me. I want to encourage you to teach your kids whether you think they are getting it at school or not (that’s why this is not an exclusive homeschool, private school, or public school blog. There’s plenty of those out there). Oh and I can tell you I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve taught high schoolers who don’t know how to hold a pencil and write like first graders so believe me when I say your reinforcement at home matters.

So I read about using tactile letters (I had to look it up, ha ha) and I didn’t have sand to play with outside. I thought a sealed bag would be fantastic. I searched Pinterest, but every squishy bag recipe included an ingredient I didn’t have on hand. Bummer. So I improvised!

Okay my concoction wasn’t the most workable easy mixture. We used it anyway.

And you know what? She liked it. She came looking for it the next day and it actually worked a tad better the next day! We also tried a bag of rice.

It was very easy and concealed the mess in our carpeted school spot. Later we will dump the rice on the ground outside and try drawing with our fingers. The shaving-paint-goo will go in the trash after this week (shh, don’t tell) and we will make something that’s new and fun.

Preparation took a few minutes and she’s been very engaged in the activity. That was cheaper than a leap pad and takes more hand muscle strength (side note, I’m considering buying the Mr. Pencil leap pad for road trips). Like everyone else, besides maybe the Amish, I’m trying to get better at moderating my child’s screen time. I get lots of ideas about that while browsing my iPhone 📱🙈😆.

If you feel like you’re too much of a hot mess mom to do this teaching/activity stuff and your things don’t look Pinterest-worthy, give yourself a break please. Children are a hot mess and they are very forgiving. Your kids don’t need perfection, they need you. And if they are blessed with a village of certified teachers, they still benefit from YOU. You don’t have to do it all but, but all you do will matter to your kids.

So I want to encourage you to try stuff like this. After 5 1/2 years of college and 6 years in the classroom, I still have learning activities that turn up goofy. But we are both learning, which is the objective. So please, be inspired by my imperfect concoction, imperfect pin, and rewarding experience with my child.



  1. Great article! I agree with you. We are our children’s first teacher -and a life long one at that, too!
    As for the tactile letters, kudos for coming up with your own recipe! 🙂 I really love Pinterest but sometimes the ingredients that they have there aren’t easily available so we really have to be resourceful. As long as it works, right? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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