This popular Melissa and Doug word puzzle was given to my oldest when she was a toddler and she instantly loved it! But what I didn’t love was all of the multi colored letters!
Even if you’re new to Montessori, you may have noticed that many of the materials are also “color coded”, but each color serves a specific role. The amount details that Maria Montessori put into her materials has such incredible purpose, and this one is no exception!
The letters to this puzzle originally came as seen above. While the rainbow of colors is fun to look at, there was no rhyme or reason to it, and consonants and vowels lacked isolation of quality. Why does this matter? Isolating the letters by grouping them into separate colors allows the child to pick up on patterns, and begin to realize that each word needs at least one blue letter (vowel) along with the red letters (consonants) to be a word!
While I wouldn’t purchase this over another option like the moveable alphabet (traditional wood, plastic); if you already have it at home, or have found one at a thrift store for a steal of a deal, here’s a quick, easy, and inexpensive way to make it more Montessori aligned!
Using this left over paint from my DIY red and blue rods, I separated the letters into consonants that would be painted red, and vowels that would get a coat of blue.
A spare 5 minutes, and an old piece of cardboard on a sunny day was all it took! I let the pieces dry over night before adding them back into the storage box and have been really pleased with how durable they are.
I’ve found that this specific paint gives them a beautiful, glossy, solid finish without needing any sealant.
If you’d like to learn more about some of the tools we use for reading and writing here is a post on our DIY Muriel-Dwyer Reading Folders
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