I am forever drooling and hoping for these beautiful sandpaper letters from Polliwog on Etsy. However, we don't own these; we own a homemade version that is infinitely less beautiful, but that serves the purpose well. Bear solidified her knowledge of letter sounds with these and J-jo is on his way to learning them too.
There are many tutorials on how to make traditional sandpaper letters, but most involve printing out a template, and then tracing the template on the back of sandpaper and cutting it out. My sandpaper letters are much simpler and your child or children will enjoy helping you make them. Their delight in helping you will most likely result in even more interest in using them (or at least, it did with Bear).We made a through z but also the phonograms ee, ai, ie, oa, oo, ue, ar, er, or, ou, oy, sh, ch, th, and qu.
- cardstock - my package said 90lb, but it wasn't as flimsy as my recent package of 90lb cardstock is. The thicker, the better. Mine have held up through 2 kids.
- liquid school glue
- sand (used beach sand for the first ones while we lived in Costa Rica and play sand from our sandbox for our phonograms)
- a paper cutter is nice, but scissors work too.
- a tray to work on
1. First, cut your cardstock into smaller rectangles. Ours are 4-1/4 by 5-1/2 inches.
2. Next, use the glue to trace out the first letter (you'll need to decide if you are doing lower case or upper case - Montessori starts with lower case). I used my finger to smooth the glue and make the line wider; you could use a cotton swab. I didn't do this with my phonograms and I don't like how they turned out as much.
3. Pour sand over the glue. This is where your children can participate. Bear is the one who poured the sand and then tilted the card to discard the excess sand into a tray.
4. Repeat for the rest of the alphabet. If your child is younger, you don't need to make the phonograms right away. The whole process doesn't take too long - the longest part is cutting the cardstock.
Now you can use your sandpaper letters for sound sorting, and all sorts of other letter and letter sound games.