for less than $10!
Okay, so I didn't actually make it just like the picture.
But here is what ours looks like:
I found everything I needed at Walmart, and you could purchase everything for the moveable alphabet for less than $10, and you can have the alphabet and cases for around $15. All it takes is a bit of work and time.
The letters were found in the craft aisle(s) and markers were just the inexpensive kind (I really prefer to use Crayola for all things coloring, but I knew that I would be using the red and blue A LOT so I went with a cheaper brand, in case I used the markers up in the process).
This part is self-explanatory - red for consonants, blue for vowels.
I actually didn't have the boxes for quite a while after getting the alphabet done, which meant that 1. I wasn't able to make them as accessible to the kids as I wanted, so they didn't get used as much as I wanted at first and
2. I didn't want to post them on here until I had them just the way I wanted. I knew in my mind what I wanted, but couldn't find it when I began looking. After looking for several weeks every time I went to Walmart or other places, finally I saw these in the SAME craft area where I purchased the letters - don't ask me how I missed them. Either they didn't have them out at first, or I just didn't see them. Regardless, when I saw them, I knew they were perfect.
There are individual spaces for each other the letters, although I needed two boxes to fit them all, because there weren't enough spaces for the entire alphabet in one box. But, the plus side is, I have a few extra spaces in the second box, plus one extra large space in each one that I have plans for - I want to eventually store printed, laminated pictures there for spelling out the object name (or in this case, as you can see above, cardboard memory game cards that they don't play with anymore).
Anyway - there's my much less expensive idea for the moveable alphabet.
Of course, there are many ways to make the moveable alphabet. We have had a Valentine's Day moveable alphabet, and you can use the same basic idea to make themed ones for almost all the holidays of the year. We have made one using clothespins for an ABC order work, and there are printable alphabet cards here at Montessori Print Shop along with instructions for how to use them, which would be helpful for anyone who needs help getting started (I might get this myself, just for the instructions on the presentation!).
The ways to make a moveable alphabet are really limitless, and there isn't a wrong way to do it, in my opinion. I just liked the thought of being able to use a wooden set and hold on to the shape and feel of the letter. I know that my set does NOT have lowercase letters, but I will most likely add the printable alphabet someday and I wanted mine for spelling first of all, which means that there is already a good recognition of upper and lower case letters.
Hope this inspires someone else who may want to have a Moveable Alphabet in your homeschool classroom, but really can't buy a set from a Montessori supplier!