Forming Letters in Goopy Bags

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Playful Activities for Reading Readiness:

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Playful Activities for Reading Readiness:

For our young children, writing serves as a window into their language and literacy development. We want them to feel comfortable and confident in expressing themselves through writing, so we provide a forum for them to take risks and explore written language. Handwriting and letter formation is an important dimension of children's early writing process. 

Once children are starting to get comfortable with the global contours of written letters (straight lines, curves, and circles), begin to put these together to form letters. If you have a handwriting curriculum already in place, you can use that. If not, and you are looking for some guidance, get some ideas in Playful Activities for Reading Readiness: Laying a Foundation for Literacy like this activity that allows children to practice forming shapes and letters in "goopy bags". 

In her book, author Latisha Hayes shares that you can first create a collection of “moves” you make forming letters, beginning in uppercase. For example, with A, you might say, “Big line. Big line. Little line across.” Or with I, you might say, “Big line. Little line top. Little line bottom.” Language needs to be consistent and used often. You don’t want it to be too wordy—simple is best. Let children have fun and explore creating these shapes and eventually letters with the fun texture of a "goopy bag." 


  • High-quality, sealable bag
  • Colored hair gel
  • Glitter or sequins

What To Do

  1. Add gel to the bag.
  2. Add sequins or glitter to the bag.
  3. If gel is not dark enough, you can add dye or food coloring. You want children to easily see the letters they make. 
  4. Help children practice forming curves, circles, and eventually letters in the gel.