Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Now that we know our alphabet by sight (and song), it’s time to learn the sound each letter makes.
Here’s an easy way to make learning phonics fun with your tot. I have seen different basket versions of some in the Montessori style (class setting) that use cards, wooden letters and even small toys. Here's our inexpensive and easy phonics kit in a box.

I purchased this box from a craft store for about $10. I’m sure any craft store (or even Wal-Mart or Target) would have one. It's a small hardware box or jewelry making/bead box. It has 30 mini drawers (more than we need), and the inside of each drawer is about 3” long and 2” deep.
I printed upper and lowercase alphabet letters, cut them out and used clear packing tape to adhere them to the face of each drawer.
I filled each drawer with the corresponding letter (cheap plastic magnet letters) and toys/ figurines that begin with the corresponding letter/sound.  

For instance, the P drawer has:  
One plastic letter P, a small  parrot, pineapple, penguin, panther, pin and phone.

I scooped up grab bags from a local thrift store that contained 100+ small toys/ figurines and asked family and friends to help me fill the drawers I was missing items for ($3 and free).
Before placing them in action, I washed and sanitized each one.  You can wipe, boil, scrub or toss them in the germinator...whatever you do, I highly recommend you sanitize if you've purchased second hand.
Lastly, we use a square piece of felt as a mat (50 cents at craft store), to work on. Each day we choose a new letter, lay it on the mat and make our sounds.

You can take all the letters out and ask your tot to put each one back in the correct drawer, and  do the same thing with the items in each drawer. There are many ways you can use this phonics box and it will be relevant for several years.
This is a learning tool at our house, not a toy.  Due to small parts, we keep it out of reach when we aren't working on it together. 

Have Phun!


Unknown said...

I love this idea! We'll have to try it out too. Thanks for creating this wonderful blog. We just made salt dough Valentines ornaments today :)

HeyDayLiving said...

Thank you!

HeyDayLiving said...

I've heard from a few friends that the box I used is very hard to find. I found some close to the one I purchased (at joanns craft) online at The Container Store. It's a bit more pricey at around $20, but with the amount of use you'd be getting, it could be worth it - if no other box is found. Thought I would share. :)

Honey said...

We use Montessori too and I LOVE our bins. They're used for so much! I too pick up the grab bags of wee toys. Be sure to check out the diorama stuff too. HoLo's often puts a few something's on clearance!


Brooke said...

I have been wanting to make one of these! Great learning tool!

Sabrina said...

I have been looking for a box similar to this for quite some time now that's not very costly. FYI, I've seen others use the extra drawers for blends {sh, ch, th, wh}. I really like yours!

Alma Delia Lopez said...

I want one!!!! :)

Little Owls Home Daycare/Preschool said...

we are making one now, I ended purchasing two from amazon that had 18 drawers each as I couldn't find anything similar in the stores I have gone to. now to fill them up! I am going to use some of the extra drawers for the long vowel sound and maybe do some numbers or something with the rest. not sure yet. cant wait to start playing!

Unknown said...

I've always wanted "sound tubs" for my K classroom. Your diy project inspired me! I found a 30-drawer box much like yours at Wal-Mart for $10 :-) I had letter stickers to label the fronts. I also used the 4 extra boxes for digraphs. Fun project!

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