Made”line” Sensory Tray Writing

“In an old house in Paris that was covered with vines lived twelve little girls in two straight lines. In two straight lines they broke their bread and brushed their teeth and went to bed.”  Are you familiar with that classic opening line of Madeline?

This month’s Virtual Book Club for Kids is all about that little adventurous girl who has delighted generations of readers. We created a sensory pre-writing experience that we bet Madeline would have enjoyed!

Create a sensory tray pre-writing activity to compliment the book Madeline. Includes a free printable of 10 line drawing prompts complete with a Madeline hat start marker!

If you are new to Virtual Book Club for Kids here is a little background.  The Educators’ Spin On It, Toddler Approved and Rainy Day Mum have put together a wonderful line-up of great authors and books to explore.  Talented bloggers share activities to compliment the books.  You are invited to try out as many of the ideas that you feel would be a good fit for your kids.

Now, on to the Madeline ideas.

Full Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

The Book: Madeline

Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans takes you on an adventure as Madeline travels to the hospital to have her appendix removed.  She can even keep up her spirits and sense of adventure while feeling under the weather.

The Pre-Writing Made”line” Activity

Little ones need lots of hands-on sensory experience to explore writing.  Sensory trays are an easy and helpful way to give kids experience.


Materials needed: Made”line” cards (see free download below), 2 blue construction paper sheets, jelly roll pan, yellow cornmeal, drawing utensil (optional), mini photo album (optional)

Making lines and copying images is one way to give children practice making strokes.  We created 8 different kinds of lines for kids to practice.  Each line has a little Madeline hat to signal children where to begin their line.

line prompts in a photo album

1. You can download the 4×6 sheets and cut them apart.  We choose to place them in a mini photo album.  You could also keep them loose or hole punch the stack and attach with a ring clip.


creating the Madeline story sensory tray

2. Cover the bottom of a jelly roll pan with two pieces of royal blue construction paper.  Cover the paper with yellow cornmeal.


Invite your child to trace over the first line prompt with her finger.  Start at the hat.   You can describe movements such as up and down or left to right as your child is working.

making lines with Madeline line prompts

Time to move to the sensory tray.  Have your child repeat the line in the cornmeal.  Smooth the cornmeal and repeat with other line prompts.

making straight lines in a sensory tray

See, it is super easy and helpful!  A great way to practice pre-writing skills.

Now it’s time to see more great activities that compliment the Madelinebook.  But, before you leave to see all the goodies… Have you signed up for our FREE newsletter?  Each week you get lots of literacy goodies delivered to your inbox.  Take a second and sign-up HERE.

Ok, now go off and explore!

virtual book club hosts


Name in Bed & Name Writing Activity by Preschool Powol Packets
Madeline Small World & Sensory Bin by Study at Home Mama
Madeline Snack by Still Playing School
Learning about Body Parts with Madeline by I Can Teach My Child
Exploring Art & Color by Mama Miss
Madeline Movement Game by Mom Inspired Life
Toddler Shape Activity by The Pleasantest Thing
Build the Eiffel Tower by Inspiration Laboratories
Skip counting 2’s with Madeline by Rainy Day Mum
Flowers for Madeline by The Educators’ Spin On It                                                                                                                 Doubles Activity by Toddler Approved



About Jodie Rodriguez

Jodie Rodriguez is a mom of two young boys and an early childhood/elementary educator with over 18 years of experience. Jodie's passion is helping parents, teachers, librarians and anyone else interested in nurturing our youngest readers.


  1. What a fantastic pre-writing activity. We will have to give this a go as we are working on letter formations.

  2. Oooh, I love how the blue shows up! We’re also working on letter formation, so this would fit right in!

  3. Such a great idea!

  4. This is such a great activity to go with the book Madeline! My son would really enjoy this!

  5. This goes perfectly with the Madeline book. So clever!

  6. We love Madeleine! Thank you for sharing with us your wonderful activity at Learn & Play Link Up. Join us again this week! And I featured this post for my literature-based activities.


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