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Monday, November 14, 2011

Make Your Own Montessori Sandpaper Letters

Okay--they are made of felt, not sandpaper. And to give your child a really well-rounded experience when learning letters, they should be lower case and upper case. But this is a start.

Baby T is starting to become very interested in letters, and he's writing the letter "T." He recognizes a few letters, but he's not really aware of where they fall in the alphabet (reciting the alphabet is an entirely distinct activity in his mind. It has more to do with "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" than spelling).

I found a bag of felt, self-adhering letters at Joann's Fabrics for just about $5, and decided I'd use them to make my own tactile alphabet for Baby T. Having children feel the letters with their hands gives them an additional sensory experience when learning letters; it establishes a muscular memory that is a precursor to writing. Since Baby T doesn't ever let me guide his pencil or crayon to show him how to write a letter, this is a perfect way to help him get a sense of how letters are written.

To make the letters, go dig around in your recycling to find a cardboard box of some kind. I used the box from a case of Sam Adams. Baby T and I used a glue stick to paste colorful paper onto the box. After the paper was dry, I cut apart the box into 3" x 3" squares.

Baby T likes to trace the letters. He recites, "down, down, across" as he traces the "A":
Please excuse the belly. Baby T can't stand leaving his dirty
shirt on after eating lately.

Even Little M likes the bright colors.

Let me just say that these letters aren't really Montessori. Why? Because in the Montessori style of teaching, a lot of emphasis is not placed on capital letters. Why teach kids capital letters when the majority of their writing will be in lower case? If you can find felt (or sandpaper, or foam) letter stickers in lower case, all the better. It's easier to trace the letter when it is in more of a cursive style. Also, the fact that the blocks are different colors with no reason or pattern isn't in the Montessori style. Many Montessori sandpaper letters just make the consonants a different color than the vowels.

But I still find this a great tool for exploring the alphabet with Baby T. He likes the bright colors and enjoys the feel of the cards in his hands.

Has anyone else made sandpaper letters quickly and inexpensively? I'd love to see your ideas!

We are working on exploring a new letter every week. I'll be writing a post later this week detailing last week's "A" projects.

This post is linked up at:
Home Stories A2Z


Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips

I think this is great even if it isn't completely Montessori. The printing style we used when I was teaching elementary school a while back was D'nealian because of it's cursive style curves being easier for the kids to form and an easier transition to cursive later. I visited Bogota, Colombia where all children's books are in cursive. Kids don't learn to print until later... the reverse of the order here in the US.

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