In ancient cultures, when paper was scarce, children learned how to write by using a stylus and writing in either wax or sand. It could then easily be erased and used again. I took the same concept, but instead of sand I used cornmeal.
I first drew a letter in the grain. Then I had him trace over it with his stylus and he was able to follow the straight lines. We then switched to drawing some shapes and he really liked that.
For free play, I threw in some foam letters from his bath toy paraphernalia and he eagerly covered, then searched for them as “buried treasure.” He also liked to get messy with it, so if you’re going to do this activity indoors as we did on a hot day, I suggest some kind of floor covering and a well working vacuum as it’ll probably get everywhere.
Supplies: A small sac of cornmeal or other grain, a plastic container, optional letters. The “stylus” was a drumstick from a drum toy we bought at the $1 bin at Target.
Preparation: Pour the cornmeal into a clean plastic container and have at it.