Today I tried the alphabet sound boxes with Lady P and she really enjoyed them. I started with one box and played ‘I spy’ with her then, when she got the gist of the activity, I moved on to two boxes. I chose ‘w’ and ‘l’ and she really struggled with this. Then I realised that those two letters are quite similar in sound and she was getting very confused as to what started with ‘w’ and what started with ‘l’ so I switched the ‘w’ box with ‘b’. She seemed to hear the difference between these two sounds and she was able to sort the items correctly. Sometimes she would put them under the wrong one on purpose then look at me to see if I would correct her. I didn’t at first. I just moved the item under the correct letter after she went onto the next item and she stopped being silly on her own. I used my sandpaper letters I made and started my lesson by tracing the letter and saying the sound. She loved doing this! Then I demonstrated an item by over-emphasising the letter sound and the word i.e. b…b…battery (yes I put a battery in there, but I don’t recommend it). She quickly caught on and continued using the same technique.
She wanted to keep going with this activity so I’m happy I’ve found something she really enjoys! I do find that I’m constantly looking around the house for items to put in my sound boxes. There are pieces missing from all sorts of things: puzzles, memory games…my husband’s keys…Anyways, have fun with this! (P.S. don’t look at my non-Montessori inspired shelves…I find it impossible to have them neat and organised)
So I have come to the realisation that Montessori supplies are amazing but so expensive! I love the Language material and decided to create my own sandpaper letters for a quarter of the price! I’m sure many of you are happy about this!
26 squares of wood, mounting board or something equivalent (if you use mounting board, prime it with gesso to prevent the board from warping when you paint it)
Tester pots of paint (pink for consonants and blue for vowels)
Alphabet template (d’nealian template)
Matte mod podge to seal and protect the letters
1. Print the template off and glue onto the back of your sandpaper. The link I have given you is great because the template is already backwards so you can just stick it on as is.
2. Cut out each letter individually so you can glue them onto your wood pieces. Use a craft knife for the centres of letters.
4. Cut your wood to the desired size (I just made all of mine the same size; though the suggestion is to make certain letter boards bigger to accommodate letters such as t, f, h etc. Paint 5 boards blue and the rest pink. I used tester pots (one of each colour: £1 each)
5. Stick the sandpaper letters onto the boards using pva glue or wood glue. Then coat with matte mod podge which is a sealer and will prevent the sandpaper from wearing off. Voila! The finished product!
If I can make them, anyone can!
So what can you do with sandpaper letters? Well it’s a great way to teach letters to your toddler using the sense of touch. Use three period lessons to teach her the sounds of the letters. You could make a matching game using a moveable alphabet. You could match objects to the beginning sound they make. You could use them to spell short phonetic words! The list is endless! There are loads of pre-reading lesson ideas online to choose from!
I hope you enjoy!