Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Leave-Behind: DIY Word-Making Tray

One of the ingenious tools that I discovered from Montessori is the moveable alphabet.  Here's how a DIY-version became a fun leave-behind activity for Ladybug Girl to do while I'm at work. 

First here's a photo of my little 3-year old at work on the movable alphabet in her school.  It's the start of forming words by knowing how the letters sound:

Word-making is literally hands-on (spelling doesn't matter yet).  In the second photo, I love that they followed her interest in bones and asked her to make words from them.

For my laughable version, I used magnetic letters and arranged them in drawer organizers:
Alphabet from Melissa and Doug (Php 550@), Organizer from Make Room (Php 600 @).  I know I could have gone a lot simpler but first I wanted them magnetic, and second, I ran out of patience to scout for cheaper organizers.

Labeled letter slots
Update: I found these non-magnetic letters option for a much cheaper option:

Toy section of Landmark Dept Store, less than 200 pesos

Using the magnetic letters and a cookie tray, we would sometimes do word-making games as part of our floor time together for more than six months last year.  She had developed reading skills early, and I wanted to keep working on that "strength zone" (oops, corporate-lingo bingo).

This one was a facebook post when Awesome Guy was away.

It was a trial-and-error game.  When I assumed her skill was greater than it was, the fun would stop.  Most times at the start, I would just bring it out for her to make "silly words" and ask me to sound them out for a laugh : fgbg would be "fuga-buga!".  Sometimes I would draw a picture and she would choose the starting letter sound.

I had Flip-A-Word books and I used them together with the magnetic letters:
I would put down "ET" and she would choose the first letters when we flip through the book.

Frankly, I began thinking of adapting it as a leave-behind activity to get more ROI out of the cost I had put in.  So I left the cookie sheet tray with a message for her to fill in.  We've been doing this since November, and the pictures say it all:

Our first one.  Ladybug Girl loves ______ : her answer kept me going, haha.

This one said "this snack"

This one stayed long on shelf without being answered.  So I put "ACK" and she added the "J" the next day.

This one was done nearly immediately.  

If you can't beat the iPad, work with it.

Our shelf set-up today.

We did have a few duds like "favorite color" (I guess purple is intimidating to start with).  So like everything, this is trial-and-error.  Her yaya does tell me that she pulls down the alphabet trays all by herself now, which means she's eager to play this game with me.  I think it lets her express herself in a way, and hopefully have a connection with me even if I'm not there.

Increasing ROI!

As far as our leave-behind trays go, this one is one of my favorites.  


  1. Love this! I have the same magnetic letters and I find that I am able to use them over and over when creating different learning activities for my son. :)
    -Deborah @ For The Love of Learning

    1. Hello, Deborah! I also love the apple-tray letter matching activity that you made - why hadn't I thought of that when my daughter was younger! Such a great way to use them. Thanks for visiting!


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