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Friday, September 8, 2023

B is for Bubble Wrap: 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 {also known as tactile letters}. 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. 

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. Follow our step by step instructions below to create your own sensory letter B, I've also included a free printable letter B template.

sensory letter B made with bubble wrap

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:

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

Introduce phonics - The sensory item used matches phonetically with the letter so it introduces the concept of phonics and can be used for further exploration. For example b is for bubble wrap, /b/, /b/, bubble wrap. What other words make the /b/ sound?

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.

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.

B is for Bubble Wrap: Sensory Letter B

To make your sensory letter B you will need:

  • Letter B template
  • Bubble wrap
  • Scissors
  • Glue

I decided to use bubble wrap, for the letter B as it's easy to a great material to save and recycle from parcels and packages, 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 bumpy, bubbly surface that can also be popped when pressed. However, if you don't want to use bubble wrap, there are alternative sensory ideas for the letter B further below.

sensory letter b supplies

How to make a sensory letter B

1. Download and print letter B 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. Cut the bubble wrap into 1 inch wide strips. Depending on the length of your bubble wrap pieces, you may need 3-4 strips. Cut the bubble wrap strips with scissors to fit the straight and curved lines of the letter B. 

If you're doing this craft with a group of children you may want to pre-cut pieces of bubble wrap to save time, or you can cut out a letter B template and use it as a stencil to cut the bubble wrap into whole letter B pieces so children only have to glue it down.

3. Glue the bubble wrap pieces onto the letter B template. Glue it down on the flat side so the bubbles are sticking up. While children are gluing down the pieces they will be able to feel how the bubbles are bumpy and stick out. If they push down firmly they'll also hear the bubbles pop.

sensory letter B from side angle

letter B bubble wrap up close

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

bubble wrap tactile letter B

This sensory letter B is a fun way for children to create their own tactile letter B. Once it's done they can inspect the bubbles in the bubble wrap up close and run their fingers over them to see how they feel. They can also push down on them to make them pop! 

More sensory ideas for the letter B

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

B is for buttons sensory letter B

Buttons - Collect buttons in different shapes, sizes and textures and glue them onto the letter B. You can remove buttons from old clothes to start a collection, or buy them in packets from dollar stores or in bulk sets from Amazon. Lots of thrift stores also sell jars of mixed buttons.

Beads - Glue beads in different colours and shapes onto the letter B. You may need stronger glue to hold down the beads, or use flat beads so they stick easier. You can get beads in lots of different designs from dollar stores, or in bulk sets from Amazon. Once the beads are dry children can run their fingers over them to feel the different textures.

Bottle caps - Collect bottle caps before recycling bottles to build up a collection and then glue them onto the letter B. I recommend using only plastic bottle caps so there are no sharp edges, and glue them down on the flat side so they stick better. You can get bottle caps in a range of colours, sizes and designs if you collect them from softdrink {soda}, water and juice bottles.

Brown paper - Reuse brown paper bags or brown kraft paper and glue it to the letter B template.

Burlap - Burlap is an inexpensive thick fabric, tightly woven, yet lightweight fabric usually used for sacks. It has a coarse texture and is also known as hessian in some countries.

Beans - Glue black beans to the letter B template. You can also use cannellini beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, red beans, mung beans or lima beans. Most beans can be purchased in bulk bags in the soup aisle at a supermarket. Do not use beans with children who are still mouthing as ingesting raw beans can be harmful in certain doses.

Bird seed - Another great sensory texture is bird seed. You can get bulk bags of bird seed which contains different seeds such as sunflower seeds, millet, wheat, corn and peanuts. It's easiest to apply glue to the template first and then carefully sprinkle the bird seed on top and lightly press it into the glue. Please ensure there are no peanut allergies before using bird seed.


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

Please note that this free printable letter B 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.

sample free printable letter B template

download template now click 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.

printable alphabet template set

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.

buy now alphabet templates

b is for bubble wrap sensory alphabet craft

More Sensory Alphabet Crafts

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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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