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Wonderful Montessori Inspired Wood Working DIYs + Plans

An affordable DIY Movable Alphabet - from $10AUD

Kmart Magnetic Letters at how we Montessori

We know that Montessori materials can be expensive. If your child is learning to read or write you may be looking for an affordable option for a Movable Alphabet.

Our wooden Movable Alphabet cost around $70+AUD plus postage. The cheapest option for a Movable Alphabet would be to cut letters out of cardboard. Another affordable option is to find wooden craft letters and paint them. Although here in Australia, I've only found wooden craft letters in Capital/Upper Case letters. It is important in this early stage of learning that our children are using lower case letters. There are also Movable Alphabets you can print online and again you need to cut them out.

I recently received a message from a reader asking if there are any materials at Kmart (Australia) that can be used for a Movable Alphabet. That would be an affordable option! Over the weekend I found some Magnetic Letters at Kmart for $10 (online is slightly more expensive). $10AUD is roughly $7.15USD and £5.25. The pack includes one Capital Letter and three Lower Case letters for each letter of the alphabet. Also included are question marks and exclamation marks. Also, you get the container, usually, a container like this would be over $10 by itself and it is perfect for storing the Movable Alphabet! 

For my four-year-old, I removed the Capital Letters, the question mark and exclamation marks, we can use them when he is older.

Kmart magnetic letters Montessori movable alphabet at How we Montessori

Until I opened the pack I didn't know what the letters were made of. I found they are foam letters, with a magnet back. The pastel colours are cute and the letters can be used just like this if you want! They would work wonderfully for play on the fridge, dishwasher or other magnetic surfaces, all for the price of $10.

In Montessori, the vowels and consonants are different colours, often blue vowels and red consonants. Some schools use the colours the other way around. 

Kmart Movable alphabet at How we Montessori DIY

My research told me the best way to paint foam is to mix acrylic paint and glue (to make sure the paint adheres to the foam). The foam is absorbent so the paint soaks into the foam just a little. 

Kmart foam Montessori movable alphabet at How we Montessori

I mixed some acrylic paint with PVA glue we already had at home and painted the letters. Once dried some letters had bubbles on them so I would check for that next time. The blue letters came out really well. Because the foam letters were different colours to start with, the red paint didn't work as successfully. I'm not 100% happy with the red letters, so if you want to try this I would recommend researching other paint options (spray paint?) or paint the letters white first and then paint red.

Kmart Magnetic Letters at how we Montessori

The child can then use the Movable Alphabet to make words and begin to write sentences! 

There are tons of pros and cons to this approach, if money were no object I would recommend going with the purpose made Wooden Movable Alphabet, but this DIY is doable and affordable. 


Magnetic Letters (AU)

Similar Magnetic Letters (coloured) (US)
Blue and Red Magnetic Letters and here (US). 

Wooden Movable Alphabet  (AU)

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