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Montessori Infant Movement Areas - in shared spaces!!

How we are using Montessori Sandpaper Letters - at 3 yrs

Montessori sand paper letters at Three Year Old at How we Montessori

Do you have Montessori sandpaper letters at home that are not being used as much as you'd hoped? Here are four different ways we are currently using sandpaper letters in our home.

Letter jumble with sand paper letters at How we Montessori (1)

I call this a letter jumble as I jumble all the letters in the basket, then ask my three-year-old to sort them! It's easy for him to do and it really helps with his letter recognition. Here I've only used nine letters but I could put out the whole alphabet. 

Montessori learning with felt letters sandpaper letters at How we Montessori (2)

I have included sandpaper letters, felt letters, and letter tiles.  

Montessori sandpaper letter match wtih felt letters  letter tiles

If we are playing this together I might ask him "I have a rrr, can you see the rrr" and include as much phonetics as possible rather than this just being about visual discrimination and matching. 

Sandpaper letter sound sorting at how we Montessori

An initial sound sorting basket. This is simply sorting the objects to the initial sound. 

Sandpaper letter sound sorting at how we Montessori

At this stage, I'm only putting out 2-3 objects per letter and I'm including 1-2 letters that my child knows well with 2-3 letters that he is still working on. This has become more popular now my child is getting closer to four.

Montessori sandpaper letters alphabet abc book at How we Montessori

Montessori abc's by Christina Clemer (now also in cursive) is just calling out to be used with sandpaper letters. I've put around 5-10 letters in the basket and ask my three-year-old to tell me when he sees one of the sandpaper letters in the book. 

Montessori abc book at how we montessori

Then we might stop and say the letter and trace the sandpaper letter.

Sandpaper letters sandtray at how we Montessori (1)

Using the sandpaper letters with the sand tray is a fantastic prewriting activity. The child can trace the sandpaper letter with their fingers and immediately write that letter in the sand. We want to imprint the feel of the letter along with the sound of the letter onto the child. Over time the child will associate the sound with the letter! The sand allows the child to write freely, without and pressure of holding a pencil, it is easy to remove mistakes with a shake of the tray.

How we montessori sand tray

'sss'. First, the child traces the letter with their fingers. 

How we montessori sand tray

Then writes the letter in the sand. For some letters, it takes a lot of practice and repetition. 

How we montessori sand tray

Some letters are easy to write but it's not just about the child copying it, we want the child to feel the letter and make the sound. 

How we montessori sand tray

Sometimes the child can form the letter but not the correct way. That's ok, it just takes time and more practice. We really want the child to master the letter before moving on to writing the letter on a chalkboard or on paper. 

How we montessori sand tray

I've been presenting the sand tray with about 5-6 letters and allow the child to choose which ones he wants to write. 

Sandpaper numbers

Don't forget about sandpaper numbers too.

Sandpaper numbers

Here I can see he is working on the refinement of movement and learning proportions. 

Sandpaper numbers

I love this attempt!

If you have a younger child you may like my previous article A First Sand Tray - for Pre-Writing Skills!!

Resources: Bamboo Tray (Ikea), Sandpaper Letters (Etsy), Montessori abc's book

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