Oh, how I wish
I would have found this idea a few years ago when I first started introducing letters to my daughter, who is now in Kindergarten.
Nevertheless, it has been a WILD SUCCESS so far,
and is still totally reinforcing everything she is learning right now.
This idea, in its entirety, was borrowed from Pink and Green Mama, and can be found here, as well as several other places on the internet.
But good ideas are for copying, tweaking and re-sharing, don’t ‘cha think? =]
Get ready, cause this one’s pretty darn COOL.
Behold, the Alphabet Toolbox.
Pink and Green Mama actually used a great little drawer system for hers; I was unable to find a drawer-set that had at least 26 compartments (one for each letter) at any of our local stores, and decided to keep looking a bit longer before I figured I’d eventually have to buy one online.
BUT THEN–I walked into my garage one day, and right in front of my eyes was this
brand new, heavy-duty, plastic toolbox
(technically, it’s a small-parts and hardware organizer)
that my awesome neighbor and friend, TRISH had given my husband when she was moving!!
I had totally forgotten about it–and I was SURE my hunny wouldn’t mind if we used it for school instead!
Seriously, WHAT A SCORE!! And it was FREE!
Also, I love that this super cool box is portable AND far more durable than the mini storage drawer system. Only thing I don’t LOVE is that each letter cubby is unable to open individually–you have to open the whole side at once.
But other than that, it’s PERFECT.
PLUS, my big 3 year old boy loves it because it’s got a toolbox feel.
And anything that can further interest him in learning is a good thing. =]
So, with our box finally in hand, we were able to begin this
SUPER FUN PROJECT.
If you would like to try this yourself, I suggest you search your home improvement stores, or Walmart, etc. for either a small-parts organizer like mine, or a drawer system like the one linked above.
All you need is something with 26 or more compartments.
We first removed all the stickers/advertisements off of the top and sides of the box, and once she was all cleaned up, I made up our letter cards & taped them on the inside of each compartment.
Then I printed a title to tape to the top.
capitals and lowercase,
into their new “homes” in the storage box.
Can I just say this brought me great satisfaction because those things are always laying around everywhere, and now they have a place to live!!
Now for the fun part.
We went on a scavenger-hunt, for miniature items whose beginning sound matched each letter!
To do this,
initially, you’ll just want to take a bucket or a box,
and go on a hunt through all the rooms in your house,
and all the toyboxes and bins (and under the couch cushions too), gathering any tiny items as you go.
This is great fun, and with each item you find, you and your child can review its beginning sound!
Look! It’s a /k/k/ KEY! We can put in the Kk box!
Ooooo! An /e/e/ ELEPHANT to go in our Ee box!
And on and on–you get the idea.
You child will be DELIGHTED to take their bucket back to their Alphabet Box to organize everything.
Put ’em all in a pile, then one at a time, say the item, practice identifying its beginning sound, and put it in its proper place.
Once you’ve sorted everything out, you can survey your letter box,
and determine which letters still need items.
(Poor Xx, and Yy, Qq and Oo, they will take a bit longer to fill.
Our Xx is still empty, and I think I will print a miniature picture of an x-ray this week on some transparency paper just so there is SOMETHING in there…)
Here is a very important tip for you.
If you have a daughter, and she has a doll house,
you will want to go raid it.
(WITH her, of course!)
Go on, it’s OK.
You can always put those little things back later.
The dollhouse is your JACKPOT for this project.
Just look at all those tiny treasures!
And before you go thinking that it always looks like this in my FIVE year old’s dolly house [which used to be mine! *tear*] LET ME ASSURE YOU: it doesn’t.
We cleaned up before we had you over, is all.
And no, the rest of the house is not this cool. But anyone who collects miniatures knows that the kitchen is just the absolute MOST FUN room in the whole house.
Just in the kitchen, we found:
–vegetables (radish, carrot, turnip, cabbage, green beans green onion, parsnips, and tomatoes)
–fruits (oranges, lemons, apples, cherries)
–meat (sausages, steak, ham, pepperoni)
–pots and pans
–jars, bowls, plates, cups, mugs
And no, we did not take ALL of them out for our ABC Box.
Just certain SELECT items.
After all, the little family that lives there has to have SOMETHING left to eat!
Other fun items for your ABC Box–
start rounding them up too.
They are PERFECTLY SIZED for this project.
Just look around your place. You’ll be surprised what you can find, once you begin looking.
Now, it seems wherever we go, we’re searching for and finding tiny little “treasures” for our ABC Box.
The alphabet is ON THE MIND!!
In fact, last week, when Eden was telling a clerk at the store that her Oo box sadly had no items in it, the lady actually GAVE us a darling little miniature octopus she had on her cash register.
My girl was THRILLED.
How to use your ABC BOX:
Once your letter box is filled,
expect your child to want to carry it around for the first week or so, bringing it out
FREQUENTLY to show
over and over again.
(BUT THIS IS GOOD, so go ahead and secretly apologize to the one who has to sit through all 26 compartments, and then enthusiastically cheer your child on).
I keep a little baby washcloth in one of our extra compartments, and Eden uses it as her display area when she removes the contents of each drawer. Or you could use a piece of felt.
Here are some of our letter compartments, and their contents.
|Bb: book, butterfly, bird, button, burger, bucket, ball and a boy baby (with a bandaid on him)
|Pp: piggie, princess picture, plate, potted plant, pear, pot, pop, pillow, pizza, pick, and penny
|Ss: sewing machine, snowman, souvenir, small sandwich, sandal, sword, super sized sandwich 🙂 sea shell, and sunglasses
|Cc: crown, cupcake, crate, cow, car, cake, clothespin, coin, and cup
Here’s another fun activity we do as a warm-up before reading in the morning.
I will present Eden with an assortment of items, like this:
And she’ll have to put them all away, based on their beginning sounds.
It’s great fun for her, and I get to assess her letter identification/beginning sound progress.
Often, I will choose items from the letter/sound boxes I know she still struggles with.
Here is a good idea:
You can take out the contents of TWO of your letter boxes, mix them up, and have your child sort them into two columns.
For more challenging activities, or for older kiddos, you could:
Have your child remove the contents of one box, and spell out the items.
You (or your child) could write out all of the items from one box onto a notecard, then sort them alphabetically…
You could EVEN try sorting items out based on their ENDING SOUNDS for a whole OTHER kind of challenge.
Let me know what works for you and your little learners!
Until next time,