At the moment, Aaron often comes to me saying “mummy, I know how to spell . . .” and spells out a word. His spelling isn’t always correct, but he attempts words like “quiet” and the spelling he uses does make sense. It seemed like a good time to have a go at making our own moveable alphabet, which would cost at least £50 to buy. And yes, I know I’m using the less-common spelling of “movable”, but my excuse is that I grew up reading old books and my first job was as a legal secretary where the older spelling is still used!
I bought these wooden letters from Ryman at £3.29 each, so £9.87 for all three bags. The bags contain approximately 60 letters each. I ended up with 6-12 copies of most letters and about 3 of the less commonly-used ones, so you could probably get away with only two bags.
We laid them all out on newspaper on the balcony and spray painted the top surface only, which acts as a control of error to prevent letters being placed back-to-front. In a Montessori moveable alphabet, the vowels are blue and the consonants are red. I used Plasti-kote Gloss Super which costs £7.98 per large tin, but I only bought that because I am planning to use it for other projects as well. You can buy smaller tins for about £3.50 each. It is touch dry in about 30 minutes and I only used one coat, although you could do a second coat to make sure the paint is absolutely even.
I already had this box, it came from This Is It about a year ago. Unfortunately it only has 24 compartments, so w and x, y and z have to share a compartment.
So there you go, a DIY moveable alphabet that can be easily made for less than £20! It’s not perfect, but it’s durable and does the job just fine. Aaron and I had lots of fun this afternoon writing messages to each other and we’ve got lots more plans for it.