Did you know that in Montessori, children learn to write before they can read? This is because they are taught the alphabet phonically rather than the names of the letters first. This being the case when E and V were gifted this Melissa and Doug material from a loved one I knew that I would be making modifications before it went on their shelf.

Not only are children not taught the names of the alphabet, but there is what is called a moveable alphabet in which vowels are blue and consonants are red. There is the print and cursive version. While I prefer cursive (it’s easier for me to write with dexterity difficulties and a single word connects allowing for the child to see where there are breaks between words) I also wanted E and V to have access to the print because of books. It’s because of this that I realized we could create a simple DIY modification using spray paint.

The original colours of the Melissa and Doug letters were way too busy, too many, and not at all uniform, so I was rather excited to make this Montessori-friendly modification. All I needed to do was separate the vowels from the consonants (/y/ is a consonant) and purchase red spray paint and blue. I went with those particular spray paints because they’re safe (keeping in mind these won’t be used for anything near the mouth) and for the versatility as I have a few other DIYs planned.

Once sprayed I just waited for them to dry.

Now they are ready to be used as originally intended or, as we will be using them this fall, as the print version of the moveable alphabet as this option, with other uses for the spray paint planned, is so much more affordable than purchasing the moveable alphabet itself.

Another plus of using spray paint was that, when sprayed close, it left a texture that will allow for finger tracing.

What modification have you made to make a gifted material more Montessori-friendly?

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