Anyway after a bit of a false start I have started again with B and learning letters (he just wasn't interested last year). This time however I decided that it would be a good idea to take a leaf out of the Montessori book and use sandpaper letters for tracing with his fingers.
Now as you can see from here these things come in around $20 (or more) for each case (or here for UK customers at £25 per case). Way too much for most budgets I suspect but it is fairly simple to make your own.
- First get some fine grade sandpaper - after all I want texture but not to hurt his fingers.
- Then you need to get something to mount your letters onto. "Proper" Montessori letters are mounted onto wood but then they are designed to be used day in and day out by lots of kids so I decided that thick card would do. I didn't have any mounting card (the kind used for mounting pictures in frames) when I went to look. I have a feeling it has been used by the pink sparkly kid for drawing and making her own books out of... so instead I recycled some of the double thickness corrugated cardboard moving boxes we still have kicking around with coloured paper stuck on the front. Not so pretty but it will do. Choose the colour of your backing card carefully - again "the real thing" uses different colours for vowels and consonants.
- Print your letters out using a sans serif font (that is a font without the "twiddly bits" like arial, comic sans or d'nealian). A font size of about 400 point will give you letters of about 4-5 inches high depending on the font you use. Cut these out.
- Stick these onto the back of the sandpaper sheets -saves on fiddly tracing ;) . Flip the letter over before you stick on the back of the sandpaper, forget this at your peril or all the letters will be mirror image!
- Cut each letter out using a craft knife (you can get cheap ones from discount stores - sandpaper will ruin your scissors!) and stick onto the card rectangles.
Whilst we were at it we decided to make a set of numbers too.
Let the learning begin!