Sensory Play: jelly crystals or Shaving Cream Handwriting Practice

Last year my son struggled a lot in the handwriting department. He’s a bit of a reluctant one when it comes to using a pencil. He gets frustrated, then I get frustrated—and that’s never a good combination when it comes to learning.

Part of the struggle is the fact that sitting around with a piece of paper, writing numbers and letters over and over, gets really boring for him (and for me). In our household, we’ve found that giving him a bit of shaving cream or jelly crystals turns a boring session of handwriting practice into a solid hour of fun.

Here’s my trick to helping my son improve his handwriting the fun way. Even better, he’s using his fine motor skills and getting ahead of his classmates (they’re all entering first grade this year). My son has such a great time doing this that he hardly recognises this activity as “homework” at all. We love both the shaving cream handwriting practice and sand handwriting practice methods; I ask my son to pick which method he prefers for the day and we stick with that.

This is a great sensory play activity, and it’s likely you already have everything you need for this activity in your cupboards already.

RELATED: Sensory Play: Kaleidescope Rice

Method 1: Shaving Cream Handwriting Practice

This method feels creamy and cool to the touch.


  • rimmed baking sheet
  • spatula
  • shaving cream


Step 1: Grab your baking sheet and spread out some shaving cream with a spatula.

Step 2: Have your child practice writing with his fingers

Step 3: To “reset” your palette, use a palette knife or spatula to smooth everything out so you can start over.

spatula shaving cream

Method 2: Jelly Crystal Handwriting Practice

orange powder abc


  • rimmed baking sheet
  • spatula
  • 2 or more packets of jelly crystals


Step 1: Grab your baking sheet mix and dump your jelly crystals onto it.

Step 2: Ask your child to use their fingers to write letters in the jelly crystals. 

Step 3: Shake the pan gently to reset your palette.

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