Where to Find Montessori Language Objects

Why Use Montessori Language Objects?

Montessori language objects are used to help preschoolers become aware of speech sounds (phonemes) in spoken words before Montessori sandpaper letters are used to learn letter sounds. 

Imagine holding a toy astronaut and saying that you hear the sound "a" when you say astronaut, emphasizing the beginning sound. Then continue to model your own phonemic awareness with other miniatures that start with the same sound such as an apple and alligator.

The idea is to offer something tangible for your preschooler to hold when you're talking about speech sounds in spoken words.

Using Montessori Language Objects to Develop Phonemic Awareness

Once your child has developed some phonemic awareness, you can invite your child to identify the beginning sound of an object and match it with the Montessori sandpaper letter that represents that sound.

Eventually you can use many of the same objects to offer ideas of words to write with the moveable alphabet. Once your child has begun reading short phonetic words, you can invite your child to read a label and match it with an object.

Montessori Language Objects Starter Sets

The easiest way to start building a collection of objects is to buy a Montessori language objects starter set. You'll save a lot of time and energy compared with trying to source them individually! 

Buy Montessori Language Objects Starter Sets

Look for a starter set that includes 2-3 objects to represent words that start with each alphabet letter sound.

This is a good time to mention that the letter x represents the sound "ks" that you hear when you say the words box, fox, and mix. I've seen many language object sets that include an x-ray or xylophone, but these words do not start with the sound for the letter x!

You'll also want to avoid starter sets that include objects for words like acorn, arrow, airplane, eel, eraser, celery, cedar, giraffe, gem, ice, iron, ivy, orange, unicorn, utensils and ukulele.

When I see "Montessori" starter sets that include these kinds of objects, I know that they are not curated by a trained Montessori teacher! 

When you follow the Montessori method of teaching phonics that's covered in The Playful Path to Reading, you'll keep things simple at first by associating each blue sandpaper letter with its short vowel sound and each pink sandpaper letter with its hard consonant sound. 

You'll want some of the beginning sounds objects in your starter set to also represent short phonetic words. 

Montessori language objects such as a pig, web, cat, dog, mat, mug and jug can be used as props for word building with a moveable alphabet and for beginning reading practice. This way you can get years of use out of your set of Montessori language objects!

More Tips for Finding Montessori Language Objects

If you're looking to fill in your collection of Montessori language objects, check out the dollhouse miniatures that are available at stores like Michaels and Hobby Lobby. You might get lucky and find a miniature vacuum for the sound that the letter v represents!

Your local dollar store is another place to find things to use as Montessori language objects. If you think creatively, you'll likely find craft supplies, party favors and toys that you could add to your collection of Montessori language objects. There are often seasonal items that will work too, such as the figures included in a Christmas village scene or replica spiders and bones in the Halloween aisle. 

Miniature replica animals also make wonderful Montessori language objects. Your child may already have some Safari Ltd figurines (e.g., TOOBS® or Good Luck Minis®) that you could borrow for a beginning sounds activity or to match with Montessori sandpaper letters.

Finding Montessori Language Objects on a Budget

Is your homeschooling budgets quite limited? You can find a lot of Montessori language objects around your home! 

Some common household objects that you can repurpose as Montessori language objects include a bandaid, candle, dime, key, spoon, marker, pencil, nail, screw. You could even use real food such as an apple, banana, nut, carrot etc during one beginning sounds activity.

You can also find things to use as Montessori language objects when you go on your next nature walk with your child. Have some things in mind that you can invite your child to find to make it into a fun game. For example, you might ask your child to find a twig, rock, moss, flower, pebble, pinecone, bark, seed pod, feather, leaf etc. All of these items can be added to your collection of Montessori language objects.

Budget Friendly Ways to Find Montessori Language Objects for Montessori Homeschooling

My FREE Preschool Phonics Quick Start Guide includes a list of language object ideas to make it easy for you to find miniature objects on a budget. You'll also find one picture for each alphabet letter sound.

Yes, it's ok to use pictures as Montessori language objects! The next time you get a flyer or catalogue, see what pictures you can cut out and laminate for beginning sounds activities. This is one of the most budget-friendly ways to start building a collection of Montessori language objects.

Using pictures as Montessori language objects is also a good option if your preschooler seeks oral sensory input for self-regulation and you're concerned about the size the objects in your collection. 

Organizing Montessori Language Objects in a Montessori Alphabet Sound Boxes or Sound Cabinet

Montessori language objects are generally quite tiny and can be a choking hazard. They should be used only when you're supervising your child and then put away in a place that's out of reach.

In a Montessori classroom for preschool and kindergarten age children, language objects are usually stored in an alphabet sounds cabinet with pull out drawers. The children learn that they are only allowed to touch the objects when they are doing a Montessori language activity with a teacher.

DIY Montessori Language Cabinet for Sound Objects

You can create DIY Montessori sound boxes or an alphabet sound cabinet at home to keep the language objects out of reach when you're not using them. An Artbin drawer cabinet works well. I've also seen homeschooling families use a plastic box with divided compartments, or a set of jars, tubs or pencil cases that are labelled.

When the set of Montessori language objects is organized by beginning sound and in alphabetical order, you can quickly gather what you need for an activity!

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