One of my favourite, yet most dreaded, of the Montessori Materials are the Montessori Language Object boxes, which are a series of Pink-Blue-Green boxes that increasingly challenge and build children’s reading skills, using a combination of word cards, small objects, and the moveable alphabet.
If you haven’t already, please check out “Part 1” of the Montessori Pink Series, where I discuss the purpose of the Pink Series and give you an inside peek into our Pink Boxes.
In this post, I will discuss how to customize your boxes and DIY some of the language objects.
First, you’re going to want to understand what CVC words are — I have a separate post here that explains the concept and gives a printable of all of the short vowel CVC words.
Words that contain blends or any of the 42 phonemes are not CVC words, and you want to avoid any that have long vowel sounds.
Once you have that basic understanding of CVC words, you’re ready to start brainstorming and assembling your objects.
You are going to want at least 5 objects per vowel (box), and want your objects to cover each letter sound at least once. (C/k is the same letter sound.)
I’ve made a simple checklist for you to make the process of gathering objects (and keeping track of them) easier. Simply record the objects you already have under the appropriate vowel, and check off the letter sounds that the CVC word contains, and then use that list to guide you in your shopping or DIY efforts!
DIY Pink Boxes Checklist:
As discussed in Part One, I used a combination of dollhouse miniatures, objects from around the house (including Toob animals we already owned as part of our geography cabinet), and homemade Shrinky Dink objects. I highly recommend Montessori Services or checking out your local craft store for the dollhouse miniatures.
The Shrinky Dinks were a great last-minute solution for the letters I just could not find suitable (or suitably priced) objects for. If you’ve never used Shrinky Dinks, they are amazing! Basically, you start off with a thin plastic sheet which you can draw on and cut out in any way you’d like — and then you bake it for a couple of minutes before it turns into a thicker and smaller version of itself – a bead or medallion version of whatever you drew!
You can either freehand drawn your Shrinky Dink designs like I did, or buy the Inkjet kind that can go through your printer and use clipart for your objects.
After you collect or plan your objects, the next step is to find suitable containers. I suggest after in case you have a few larger objects that need to be considered. Lunch boxes, pencil cases, storage bins, or even coloured (or painted) baskets or trays work wonderfully.
Try to think about your child’s capabilities, too, when you choose your container. For a special needs child or one with less hand strength, an open container – and possibly an envelope holding the CVC word cards – might be a better choice than a difficult-to-open bento box.
For my bento lunchbox containers, I wanted to figure out a way to clearly label which vowel was contained. I originally thought of glueing some felt or foam cut into the letter shape, but I didn’t have red on hand. Instead, I drew the letters directly onto the lunchbox lids with hot glue and covered generously with red glitter.
Next, you just need index cards to label each of the objects. My friend Sharon prefers pink cardstock, while I had a huge supply of index cards that needed to be used up. You can write the words in black or use the Montessori colour code of blue consonants and red vowels. I chose to do red and blue because I plan to use our moveable alphabet with these boxes later on.
Next, you’re ready to present the Montessori Pink Series to your child! Check out my post on presenting the Montessori Pink Series for a simplified approach to presentation.
I hope you enjoyed this post as part of our Montessori introduction to reading and CVC activities. Please consider subscribing to our free weekly newsletter delivered straight to your e-mail inbox to stay in the loop!