WHY A MOVABLE ALPHABET?
We have had our movable alphabet for about a year now and have used it off and on as we have been going through The Peaceful Preschool curriculum. Up until recently I have mainly incorporated it in more gentle and playful ways (and still do with my youngest).
Just recently have been able to use the movable alphabet more on a regular basis using a more traditional Montessori language learning approach. I cannot say enough how much I love having this as a part of our school supplies. We use it now multiple days a week for letter recognition, spelling, and reading. I used to keep it stored up high so my 2 year old could not reach it (and dump the whole thing out), but now keep it down low on a shelf with some language-learning baskets for ease of access. Both kids have been enjoying this!
Keep in mind I that a movable alphabet is not just one letter for each letter of the alphabet: the purpose is to eventually be able to spell and build words and so you need multiples of each letter.
THE TRADITIONAL MOVABLE ALPHABET
I do love the gorgeous traditional Montessori movable alphabets that are in the shape of the actual letters and appreciate their value. However, I wanted to have BOTH uppercase and lowercase options and to go this route purchasing traditional movable alphabets I would be looking at spending anywhere between $100-250 to obtain the uppercase letters, lowercase letters, and storage boxes.
Enter in: mom craft fest.
- 200 1-1/2″ wood craft circles
- 5 per consonant and 12 per vowel (that makes 165 total)
- Uppercase alphabet stamps *
- Lowercase alphabet stamps *
- Red and blue ink pads *
- Red & blue paint pens *
- Waterproof sealer (can probably find cheap at a local store)
- 28-grid plastic jewelry sorting case for storage (I may invest in a wood box eventually but as of now I’m happy with this)
*NOTE: I already had these items and therefore did not include the cost of these in to my total cost estimate for our DIY movable alphabet.
1. I stamped the wood circles first to get a near-perfect letter shape on to each circle:
- Uppercase on one side, lowercase on the opposite side of the same wood circle
- Vowels in blue, consonants in red (follows the traditional Montessori movable alphabet)
2. Then, I went over the letters with the paint pens to make sure the letter was uniformly & boldly colored (the stamps alone weren’t 100% colored).
3. Last, I coated the finished craft circles with a wood waterproofer. This should help the craft coins last longer.
This took me probably 2-3 hours in small chunks over several days.
Last, I wanted to share some other DIY options: Deb Chitwood over at Living Montessori Now has an amazing compiled list on her website of inexpensive and DIY movable alphabets.
Hope that helps!