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Tuesday, August 8, 2023

A is for Aluminium Foil: Sensory Alphabet

As parents or educators, we're constantly exploring new ways to make learning more engaging, enjoyable, and effective for our children. A fun way to do this when teaching the alphabet is by creating a sensory alphabet. A sensory alphabet is an exceptional tool that merges the tangible experience of touch with the abstract world of letters, making the learning process not only more fun but also more immersive for children.

Creating a sensory alphabet stimulates multiple senses at once including sight, touch and sometimes sound, which is a great way for children to form a deeper understanding of letters. Follow our step by step instructions below to create your own sensory letter A,  I've also included the letter A template we've used as a free printable template you can download.

a is for aluminum foil craft

What is a sensory alphabet?

A sensory alphabet combines a craft activity with different sensory materials to create tactile letters and eventually an entire tactile alphabet. The process of creating a sensory alphabet not only teaches children letter recognition and letter sounds, it also provides visual, tactile and in some cases auditory sensory input. 

A sensory alphabet allows children to feel the different textures of the materials as they trace their fingers along the letters and while they're gluing down the materials. They can also see the different shapes of the letters, and colours and patterns of each material used, which makes them great for a classroom display. Some sensory materials will also create sounds as the children create the letters.

What are the benefits of a sensory alphabet?

Using a multisensory approach to teach the alphabet helps children increase their concentration and focus, meaning they're more likely to retain the information and be actively involved in the learning because it's hands-on and engages multiple senses.

Making sensory, or tactile, letters will also help:

Build fine motor skills - As children cut and glue their materials onto the template they will be building their fine motor skills which are essential for correct pencil grip and writing.

Establish letter recognition - Children will learn to recognise each individual letter and their names.

Correct letter formation - Constructing the sensory letters will also introduce the correct letter formation and this can be further enhanced by getting children to finger trace the completed tactile letters.

Introduce phonics - Each sensory item used matches phonetically with the letter so it introduces the concept of phonics and can be used for further exploration e.g. a is for aluminium foil ăă, aluminium foil. What else has the sound ă?

A is for Alfoil: Sensory Letter A

To make your sensory letter A you will need:

I decided to use aluminium foil, also known as alfoil or aluminum foil, for the letter A as it's easy to source from most supermarkets and it's cheap to buy in bulk if you're using it in a school. 

It also provides tactile, visual and auditory sensory input with it's sleek and reflective, but easily crinkled surface. However, if you don't want to use aluminium foil there are alternative sensory ideas for the letter A further below.
materials to make a sensory aluminium foil letter A craft

How to make a sensory letter A

1. Download and print letter A template. You can get the free template by clicking the download template button further below. Print template on white or coloured paper or cardstock.

2. Tear off a 1 inch wide strip of aluminium foil from the roll and cut to fit. Depending on the length of your roll, you may need 2 strips in order to fill the letter A. Cut down the aluminium foil with scissors to fit the sides and horizontal line of the A. If you're doing this craft with a group of children you may want to pre-cut pieces of foil to save time.

3. Glue the aluminium foil pieces onto the letter A template. Glue it down so the shiny side is facing up and the matte side is stuck to the paper. While children are gluing down the pieces of foil they will be able to feel how the texture changes as the foil crinkles under their fingers. They should also be able to hear the crinkling.

alfoil sensory letter A texture

4. Trim any excess if needed. If the foil is a little bit wide or too long once glued onto the A, trim off any excess with scissors.

sensory letter a made with aluminium foil
As you can see from the close up photo below, while the aluminium foil is being glued down it will transform from a sleek surface to become very crinkled and textured, which also creates sound. After this the light will reflect from the surface of the foil differently as you move the letter A on different angles. It also gives lots of tactile input as children run their fingers over all the creases and bumps.

aluminium foil texture up close

More sensory ideas for the letter A

If you can't find aluminium foil, or just want other options for a sensory A, then use one of the fabrics, textures, patterns or items below along with the free letter A template to create a different sensory letter A. Each option will provide a different visual and textural sensory effect.

sensory letter A made with magazine alphabet clippings

Alphabet - Cut out different letters of the alphabet from old magazines and glue them onto the template. This is a great way to add in some other letter recognition and scissor skills {or you can pre-cut the letters out if your children don't have strong scissor skills}. You could also use alphabet stickers.

Acetate - Acetate is made from cellulose wood pulp and can be used to make clear plastic, can be combined with other plastic to make hard plastic and can also be combined with rayon to create fabric that has a similar feel to silk. You could use clear plastic acetate sheets, or acetate fabric to glue onto the template.

Angora - Angora is a type of wool that is made from the downy coat of an angora rabbit. You can get angora yarn in rolls in various colours and glue it onto the template.

Acrylic paint - Paint the letter A template with acrylic paint. This can be done by children with many different painting techniques including using their hands, sponges or paint brushes.

Argyle - Cut out and glue pieces of fabric with argyle patterns onto the letter A template. Argyle is a pattern made from overlapping diamonds in different colours.

Animals - Use animal stickers or fabric with animals to decorate the template.


Click the download template button below to download the letter A template. This will take you to the PDF that can be downloaded to your device and printed.

Please note that this free printable letter A PDF is for personal or classroom use only and may not be shared electronically, uploaded or sold on any platform. If you would like to share or feature this craft in a blog post please link back to this post directly.

letter A is for template

download template here


If you want to create an entire sensory alphabet you can get my complete set of alphabet templates in a bundle from Etsy. This includes all 26 uppercase and 26 lowercase letters on their own template page. You can print them directly onto paper or cardstock to create quick alphabet displays.

letter Aa templates

They can also be used as colouring sheets, playdough mats, tracing sheets, or cut out the individual letters and use them as templates for other activities. You are able to print as many copies of the pages as you need, however please note that the PDFs are for personal or classroom use only and may not be shared electronically, uploaded or sold on any platform. 

full alphabet template set

a is for aluminium foil sensory alphabet craft

More alphabet crafts

Disclosure - This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience, which means I may make a small commission at no cost to you, should you make a purchase.

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