Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Toddler Style Montessori Object Boxes

There is no reason why "big kids" like preschoolers and kindergarteners can't play and learn with these, of course, but these are geared more towards toddlers, and beginners. Both my super-heroes still use these for a variety of language work. But they are at a stage where they are more attracted to miniature ones.

Look how small the astronaut and anchor are compared to the wooden apple. I have all 3 and some more for "A", but that is another post :)

Here is a snapshot of what Spiderman played with till 2.5 years or so. You are the best judge of your child. You would know best when to introduce them, and when to graduate from these to something smaller, and more complex! These are all sturdy, does not need delicate handling, can't be swallowed, and can even take some gumming and chewing (mostly!)

A-M Toddler Object box
A - wooden apple
B - ball (from a b'day goody bag)
C - caterpillar (came with the Very Hungry Caterpillar book)
D - wooden duck
E - plastic or wooden egg
F - feather from craft stash
G - glasses from Dollar Store
H - straw hat
I - wooden Iguana
J - jar (of baby food)
K - wooden kangaroo
L - plastic leaf
M - wooden monkey

I started with one object for each letter.  They should be the short sounds for the vowels, and hard sounds for consonants like C or G. C as in cup, not as in city. G as in gum, not as in giraffe.

Once the kiddos know their letters, and are beginning to learn the sounds, you are ready! 

As a side note, both the kiddos learned their letter sounds by watching the Leap Frog Letter Factory DVD!!
They love the catchy song, and I love the painless way they learn the letter sounds. 

The letter cards shown here came with the DVD. These were already familiar to my kids, so I used them. You can let them match uppercase or lowercase letters to the cards, and then introduce one or two object with that sound, or let them choose the object. We also use the sandpaper letters occasionally, so they can trace the letters.

The toddler version of the object box I stored in the cardboard memory boxes, one with the letters A-M (shown here), and the second one with letters N-Z. I would take out a few at a time.

For smaller miniatures, you could use a metal box, like this one, one for every letter, or combine a few and label them.

Storing your miniatures

You will be amazed at how much stuff you already have lying around the house - from every day objects like clip, or spoon or whisk - for sounds ending in -sk, or fake flowers and fruits and veggies, toys, more toys, birthday goody bags, especially the ones that comes from pinata (we got alien, surfboard, maze-tiny plastic ones that don't work very well, but works great for silent e work, fake finger with nails - use it for finger or nail lol, putty, ninjas, rings from cupcakes, tiny erasers....). Raid the dollhouse, or tree-house for more miniatures. Grab a few of their vehicles. I could probably make a whole alphabet object box just with all the transportation themed stuff lying around the house (hmm...).... You just need mindful searching and pilfering...

Linked to Link & Learn, Living Montessori Now, Tuesday Tots, TGIF Linky Party, Show-and-Share Saturday, Weekly Kid's Co-op


  1. Love this! I love our miniatures that we have found from a variety of places, and my kiddos love them, as well! And I am a big fan of the Leapfrog video! My children all enjoy it, and my three year old and 2 year old both learned their letter sounds - in fact, my 2 year old (just turned 2 in January) will see the letter and immediately recognize it not by name, but by sound! This is a fun post :)

  2. Thank you :)
    I think I love the miniatures as much as the kiddos, lol. And glad to see others the LeapFrog DVD getting great reviews from your 2 year old :)

  3. ooh I like this, what a lovely way to do letters

  4. I have been really wanting to do letter boxes! Thanks for sharing. It is so tough to find objects with the right sound. I see people selling collections on ebay and they list them as Montessori styled but they aren't getting the sounds the objects need to make, like an ice cream cone!

  5. That's what inspired me to do my own object boxes/letter boxes, rather than buying a set from somewhere else :)
    Thanks Sarah!