DIY Montessori Phonics Boxes


Learning Beginning Letter Sounds


To learn letter sounds we’ve been using:

+ DIY Montessori phonics boxes

+ ABC See, Hear, Do

The phonics boxes aid in making the abstract topic of letter sounds more concrete. The ABC see, hear, do book combines visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learning for phonemic awareness. Both resources are very easy to implement and have been tons of fun to use.

**Note: The Montessori approach calls for teaching letter sounds before letter names…. but I didn’t know about Montessori before I started teaching my son the names of letters. 🙈🤷‍♀️


How to make:

  • Purchase a hardware storage box
    • (I found Lowe’s to have the cheapest option but you can find the same one Amazon as well)
  • Print, cut, and attach labels with tape to the fronts of the drawers
  • Fill each drawer with various items that represent the letter and items that begin with the letter

Here’s a peek inside what’s in some of our drawers.

In every drawer I included an upper and lower case magnet, tiny animals , picture cards, and any other little odds and ends I could find around the house.

To print the picture cards small enough to fit into the drawers listed above: under the “Scale” option, select “Custom” in the print preview. Type “75” to shrink the pictures to scale.

***Since this material’s focus is for the child to learn beginning letter sounds, it’s important to make sure you only include objects that “say” the letter’s most common letter sound. For example I found a little plastic cheetah that I was going to include in the letter C drawer, but realized it wouldn’t work because the word “cheetah” says “ch” rather then “c”.

We chose not to purchase anything extra to fill the boxes since we already had so many tiny toys on hand. If you rather purchase a complete set of miniatures that can be found here ($),here ($$)and here ($$$).


There are SO many ways you can use this fun learning tool. Here are a couple of ideas:

•as an adjunct to a preschool “letter of the week” curriculum
•as a review tool for a child who’s mastered letter names and sounds but isn’t quite ready for reading
•simply as an invitation to learn and play

My son has learned much more then just letter sounds from this tool.

+ His vocabulary has grown.

Playing with the items provides opportunity to introduce even more words that begin with that letter! For example: playing with the tiny starfish while learning about the letter “s” may lead to discussion of seahorses, seals, sailboats, etc.

For each item we discuss the letter sound first and foremost but we also describe what it looks like, how it feels, what we can do with it, etc.

+ He’s learned how to clean up after himself and stay organized.

We make sure to put the items back in the correct drawers and that the drawers are in the right alphabetical order.

Be sure to tag me if you make one! I’d love to see how it turns out 🙂

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