Make your own spelling blocks to add a hands-on element to reading and phonics!

Owen is getting ready to enter kindergarten in the fall (homeschooling), and he is very eager to learn to read and spell.  One thing that I have noticed with homeschooling boys, though, is that many boys (not all, of course!) do not enjoy writing as much as girls do.  Handwriting seems to come along more slowly for boys, with the result that their brains are often ahead of their fine motor skills.  Owen does not enjoy filling in lots of workbooks, so I made these spelling blocks to use for phonics, spelling, building his name, etc.

DIY Spelling Blocks Phonics Manipulatives

I made the complete alphabet, and also made 2-3 extra of each “common” letter – r, s, t, m, n, a, e, etc. until I ran out of blocks.

I used 3/4 inch square blocks from Hobby Lobby.  I had planned to just write the letters on the blocks with fine point Sharpie markers, but I quickly discovered that Sharpie bleeds pretty badly on wood.  So, I painted the blocks with white acrylic paint before writing the letters with Sharpie.

DIY Spelling Blocks Phonics Manipulatives

I wrote the consonants in blue and the vowels green to help Owen remember which are which.

DIY Spelling Blocks Phonics Manipulative

DIY Letter Blocks for Spelling and Phonics

Since Owen is only reading a little bit at this point, I made some cards with basic three letter words that he can spell by copying.

DIY Spelling Blocks Phonics Manipulatives

It would be fun to add magnets to the back of these for use on the refrigerator or a magnet board.  I actually tried that with ours, but I messed it up… I used peel and stick magnets which were not sticky enough to adhere to the wood, so I glued them on with E6000 glue.  Well, the combination of glue and sticky back magnets did not work, and the magnets would not stay on at all.  Now the backs of the blocks are coated with a layer of dried E6000, so I just left them alone.  If you’re going to add magnets – don’t use peel and stick magnets!

6 Comments

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  1. Myrna Jun 13, 2014

    Where else can I get those blocks we dont have Hobby Lobby :(

    Reply
    1. Angie Jun 13, 2014

      Any craft store should have them. Hobby Lobby is online and if all else fails, amazon!

      Reply
    2. Angie Jun 13, 2014

      I can't remember where I found them, but I bought extra scramble pieces for spelling with my kiddos, peel and stick magnets were enough because the tiles are a lot thinner. I like the chunk of these for my younger set.

      Reply
      1. Angie Jun 13, 2014

        Scrabble, the board game.

        Reply
        1. EMMA REYNOLDS (MCKINNEY AS OF AUG 16) Jul 18, 2014

          this is a cool idea will have to try with MJ

          Reply
        2. EMMA REYNOLDS (MCKINNEY AS OF AUG 16) Jul 18, 2014

          the 4 year old I care for is extremely

          active not hyperactive but needs to be pretty much entertained all the time. Telly doesn't even work anymore. The only thing he seems to enjoy is playing basketball football and so forth which his family and I encourage however, when it comes to sit down activities / art projects / planned activity, he does not seem interested (with me anyway). When he becomes bored he "acts out" which is a que for person in charge to engage him in something. Anyone have any ideas on how I can implement some more learning activities. He does attend preschool and mum is v involved in his development.

          Reply
          1. Rachel Hope Aug 16, 2014

            Maybe try putting up some goals for football with different letters on the and then as he makes the goal he says the letter or something like that.

            I like the idea of the letter blocks. I am going to try these with my kindergartener.

            Reply
            1. Mothering4Him Aug 25, 2014

              What a great idea! I think when I do mine, I'll make the vowels in red. When I taught in the public school, we had to yearly test for color blindness, and greens/blues/purples were the ones that looked the most alike (if they could distinguish at all). Thanks for sharing!

              Reply
              1. dee Mar 19, 2017

                i also find banana grams has plenty of thin tile letters that a magnet can be adhered to . or some stores has a cheaper no name version shaped in a pear for a lot cheaper and the pear makes a cute easy carrying case for all the letters

                Reply

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