Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Alphabet/Sound Box

This is another topic I loved and researched so much in the montessori blog world!

 The Alphabet Box

Our collection is not just mini objects mainly because I did not want to spend money purchasing stuff.  I tried to salvage what I can mostly from the kids' toys and some from around the house and I ended up with plenty for most of the alphabets.  For the rest I made some.

Here are some ideas for collecting these:

1.  Items in kids toys, doll house items.
2.  Shapes cut out using foam or card stock.
3.  Little buttons or Cute erasers (I found a few at Michaels while browsing the other day)
4.  Knit tiny pieces of fruits or vegetables.
5.  Make some out of air/oven dry clay and paint these.
6.  Use wood to make some.
7.  Sew tiny bags or clothes.
8.  Safari Toobs for Animals.
9.  Use pictures or clip art for some sounds.
10. Raid the tool box for screws, nuts, bolts, nails, etc.

You can always order from a store like Montessori Services or Lake Shore Learning if you don't mind the cost.

Also I did not get one of those hardware store boxes with little drawers.  The main reason being some of our objects will not fit in those little drawers! I store ours in these little IKEA boxes, 6 of them to be exact.

I grouped the items together in the order I was going to introduce them.  I found this order at My Montessori Journey perfect with similar sounds in different groups.  These are the sets:

r a m f
b i t g 
p o n l
h u s c  
d e x q y
z v w j k

Here are the contents, alphabetized:

Aa - astronaut, apple, ant, alligator

Bb - bib, boat, bell, bike, ball, bat, bow, bag, bin

Cc - compact disc, can, cat, candle, clip, car

Dd - dolphin, dog, duck, dot

Ee - elephant, earth, eight, egg

Ff - fire truck, frog, fan, fork, fries, feather, fish

Gg - gorilla, glue, guitar, grapes

Hh - horse, hexagon, head phone, hedgehog, hook, hamster, hen, hippo, helicopter

Ii - ink pad, iguana, ice-cream (not to be used with the short i sound), insect, india

Jj - jar, jet, jack-o-lantern, jelly sandwich

Kk - kitten, key, kangaroo, kite

Ll - ladle, lid, lobster, lock

Mm - milk, motor cycle, mouse, marble, monkey, macaw, millipede, mic

Nn - nest, net, nail, nut, nickel, nine

Oo - ox, octagon, owl, octopus

Pp - pickup, parakeet, panda, pacifier, pom pom, puncher, plate, penny, pencil, pin

Qq - quarter, queen, question mark

Rr - rat, rubberband, rectangle, rocket, rhinoceros

Ss - strawberry, stapler, screw, spoon, spider, scissors

Tt - tiger, telescope, tweezer, turtle, triangle, toucan

Uu - umbrella, underwear

Vv - vase, valentine

Ww - walrus, whisk, wood, whistle

Xx - box (I used D's xylophone too, it was too big to fit in the box!)

Yy - yak, yellow, yarn

Zz - zebra, zero

These boxes don't have the actual alphabets in them.  I used the sandpaper letters (another home made item - sandpaper glued onto card stock) with the corresponding objects while introducing the sounds.  D caught on so quick that we did 4 to 5 sounds at a time and she moved onto sorting by initial sounds and ending sounds.  Another popular use for these is the "I Spy" games at this stage.  Please note that if you are following the Dwyer Scheme, you are NOT to introduce the written symbols before the child has clearly learned to distinguish sounds.  You can use these objects to just play sound games without the written symbols.

Before I knew about the Dwyer Scheme for Reading, we did the traditional pink, blue, green series stuff.  So for the pink object-word matching as well as for spelling using the moveable alphabet, I created a box with 3 letter pink objects that she could use.  D was part way through the blue scheme when we switched.  

For the double letter sounds, the same can be done.  Here is an example of "sh"and "ch" that I had out for D.

sh - shark, shoe, sheep, shell

ch - chimpanzee, chain, chap-stick, cheerios, chalk

For use with the Moveable Alphabet, I just have one object box out with a few phonetically spell-able objects.  Every few days I rotate the objects in that box to keep the interest alive.  The other day D pulled out my "husc" box and started randomly spelling objects!  These objects can be used later as Story/Creative writing prompts too.

So far we've enjoyed these boxes very much and this is a great learning tool! You can find my favorite alphabet box posts - here, here and here.


  1. What a great collection! Thanks for the inspiration. Now I feel like finishing ours ;D They are so fun!

  2. Amazing, really inspiring. Thanks for sharing ALL the letters in this much detail.

  3. Amazing, really inspiring. Thanks for sharing ALL the letters, it gives me ideas for some I am missing.

  4. Thanks for your comments and I am glad that you found this post inspiring and useful! This was a tough post with a lot of pictures and lot of text!

  5. You did an amazing job with all the little objects! I just love how you put it all together. You are a very gifted mom and teacher.

  6. What a fabulous collection of objects! Finding realistic objects for each sound can really be a chore, but you did a beautiful job. This material a sight to behold! :)

  7. I have this on my list of things to make. I love that you show the individual items in your post. I have been brainstorming for months about what to put in each drawer/box, and this is very helpful!

  8. I love your creativity in finding free and inexpensive objects for your alphabet boxes! My kids always loved Montessori object boxes, too. Well done! Thanks for linking with Montessori Monday. I featured your post at the Living Montessori Now Facebook page at

  9. Wonderful - I wish I had the patience to put this together - one day! I want to link this on my FB page!

  10. Thanks all for your comments! This post was a lot of hard work and it feels great to read all your feedback!

    Thanks Deb for the facebook feature!

    LeanneA - Please feel free to link on your FB page! Thanks for stopping by!

  11. I always enjoy seeing what is in other's alphabet boxes. Thank you for sharing yours!

  12. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas! I featured your post and photo in my DIY Alphabet Box post at

  13. Thanks for taking the time to write this useful post. I'm fascinated by your blog! Really.


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