Royal is not learning his letters with the fun printables and crafts we’ve been doing (he loves the crafts, just isn’t retaining any of the info!). So I’ve decided to dig a bit deeper into the Montessori world and into Sandpaper Letter Cards.
Montessori Style Sandpaper Alphabet Cards
The first thing I wanted to concentrate on was letters, of course. I knew we’d need sandpaper letters, but we can’t afford/don’t want to buy a set. I knew we had colored sand leftover from a past project and I thought it would be perfect.
I was actually a bit resistant to the idea of sandpaper cards in general. I hate the feeling of sandpaper.
But doing it this way, it’s not as rough or unpleasant but still provides a sensory sensation. Winning!
How to Make the Sandpaper Letter Cards
Making the cards is not difficult at all!
First, print and cut out the cards. The cards have colored borders based on if they’re a vowel (red) or a consonant (blue).
The different colors for vowels and consonants is consistent with the Montessori style but I realize most Montessori materials use red for consonants and blue for vowels. Since we use All About Reading for our reading program, we decided to have our colors consistent with that program.
Next, get your glue and paintbrush ready. You’re going to ‘paint’ the glue on to the letter outlines on the cards. Make sure to use a good amount of glue. The more you use, the more raised the final product will be (and we want it to be raised).
Glue dries fast so don’t paint all the glue and then add the sand. You’ll need to do one or two cards at a time.
As soon as you’ve painted on your glue, sprinkle the sand over the letter. Use a lot of sand. Then carefully tilt your card and let the excess sand fall into a container. Keep this sand to use on another card.
If you’ve used so much glue that the glue will drip if you tilt the card, just skip the tilting. You can wait until the glue has dried to get the excess sand off.
Let your cards dry for at least 8 hours. While glue dries quickly, when you have a large layer it can take a lot longer.
How to Use the Sandpaper Letter Cards
I’m a big fan of leaving materials out for kids to discover on their own – and that’s how I’ve introduced most new things to my kids. I feel like it lets them explore on their own terms and they’re much more receptive that way.
But sometimes – some new materials – require an introduction. Or maybe you just don’t want to wait for the moment they’ll happen upon your new material. That’s okay, too.
I like to start introductions with ‘hey, check this out’. Pretty nonchalant and doesn’t raise suspicion. I really don’t want to introduce a material to groaning kids so I try to keep it lighthearted – always.
So when we started, it was me tracing with my finger and saying the letter sound out loud.
Royal loves the letter r since it’s the first letter in his name, so we started with r. I always recommend starting with letters in their names because most kids love learning the letters of their name first.
I had him trace the letter with his finger and say rrrrrrrrr at the same time.
I tried to make sure they were tracing the letter in the same way you would write it.