Monday, February 6, 2012

DIY Montessori Moveable Alphabet

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Check out our DIY Montessori Moveable Alphabet!

Once my preschooler worked her way through the sandpaper letters and could identify most letter sounds, I knew she was ready to start writing words.  The Moveable Alphabet is the perfect tool to help her write words without having to worry about forming letters with pencil and paper.  I had the fleeting thought of buying a Montessori Moveable Alphabet, but I figured for our purposes here at home I could forgo the expense and make a DIY set instead.

Utility Case (JoAnn Fabrics - jewelry section)
Large Dried Lima Beans (Dollar Store)
Permanent Markers
Print-Out of Lowercase Alphabet  

Step 1
One night on Pinterest, I came across "alpha-beans".  "Alpha-beans" are simply dried lima beans with the alphabet written on them (one letter per bean).  Sara from Creative Jewish Mom created a letter match-up game using "alpha beans".  I knew "alpha-beans" would be the perfect manipulative for our DIY Moveable Alphabet!

I set the lima beans up in the same direction and wrote a lowercase letter on each one.  I love how the beans fit together perfectly and by facing them all in the same direction I hope to eliminate confusion on whether a letter is a p/d/b or u/n.  I made 5 of each letter, but I'll probably make more as my preschooler learns to write longer words and messages.  I wrote the consonants in black and the vowels in red, (traditional Montessori Moveable Alphabets have red constants and blue vowels).  Sara from Creative Jewish Mom, recommended spraying the beans with a coat of acrylic varnish because they have a tendency to chip, but I skipped this figuring I could always go back and do it later.  

Step 2
I printed out a set of lowercase letters from the computer, laminated them and taped them to the bottom of the box.  This helps my preschooler know where to put the letters back.

Step 3
I filled up the utility case with the alpha-beans!

This DIY Moveable Alphabet was quick to prepare and cost less than 5 bucks!

Before using the letters to write words, my preschooler and I played "I Spy" (using sounds) so she could become familiar with finding the letters quickly.  Then she started writing!

In an upcoming post I'll share how my preschooler uses the Moveable Alphabet to write lists, notes and short messages!  

If you're looking for more ideas on how to make a DIY Moveable Alphabet, check out this recent post by Living Montessori Now!
Montessori Monday: Inexpensive and DIY Movable Alphabets



  1. Absolutely FANTASTIC! I am pinning this and plan to make this set soon! I mostly love the small size and practicality of it! Thank you for sharing!

    1. Thanks for sharing on Pinterest! Let me know how your set turns out!

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks for stopping by and following! I'm off you check out your blog!

  3. Fabulous idea! Thanks for sharing!

  4. This is too cool ... love it! Thanks so much for linking up with Montessori Monday. I featured your post at the Living Montessori Now Facebook page and added it to my DIY Movable Alphabets post. Thanks so much for linking to my post, by the way! :)

  5. First I tougt those are stones,but in text i figure out those are beans! So cool! So doing this :-)

    1. Yes lima beans! I'm so glad you're going to try this! Let me know how your moveable alphabet turns out!

  6. I'm so loving your ideas!!!!


  7. Oh, I LOVE this! I just made some bean baseballs, and was thinking I could do SO much more with beans and permanent markers! Thank you for sharing such a fabulous idea at Teach Me Tuesday!

    1. Yes, there are so many educational ways to use lima beans!

  8. What a great activity!! : )

  9. I am just hopping over to thank you for linking up this week to my Enchanted Thursdays Blog Hop! I will be honest at first I thought the letters were on M & M’s (or perhaps I am just craving chocolate since it is Valentine’s Week ,LOL). You are so creative! I pinned this onto my Pinterest Board. I hope to see you link up again this week.

  10. Thanks for stopping by and sharing on Pinterest! M & Ms would make for a yummy moveable alphabet!


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