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Sensory and Quilted Rag Letters and Numbers

With baby coming soon, I've been in planning mode for Eliana's preschool (baby is due Dec. 22 and she turns 4 Jan. 22) . Since we have a full curriculum with Five in a Row, I will not be doing a letter of the week with her. Instead, we will be using the Explode The Code primers and doing oral lessons from Queen's Language Lessons for Little Ones.

This is written in the front of the book:
"Here, you will find child-friendly lessons in learning and recognizing the letters of the alphabet, as well as beginning lessons in picture study, narration, poems to listen to, vocabulary, and more. . . "
I truly think it is a gentle and friendly approach.

With this is mind, I decided to focus on more of a sensory approach to pre-writing and have been working on some tools to have on hand:

Salt Tracing Box and Sandpaper Letters and Numbers

I first made a salt box after seeing Mama Jenn's Salt Tracing Box. I went to the store to find a photo box that I could cut down, but was blessed to find a cool box with a top smaller box that lifted out! Which gave me a great idea to make some sandpaper letters/numbers to store underneath:

Since we will be using Getty-Dubay Italic Handwriting, I printed out a template using the Getty-Dubay Italic (GDI) Style font from Education Fontware.

Note: I let Eliana pick out the sandpaper, but next time would use a finer grit. I think these will make wonderful crayon rubbings, as well as to use for tracing!

Quilted Rag Letters and Numbers

I saw a set of Fabric Numbers @ Counting Coconuts and followed her link to a tutorial @ Happy Together and made a set of Quilted Rag Letters.

I put my own spin on this idea and printed my own template using the Getty-Dubay font, quilted and ragged them as suggested in the tutorial, and then thought to add handwriting starting point buttons for tracing.

I printed and cut out the fabric from the templates, then made them assembly line style ~ pinning and cutting out each letter, working 5 at a time. Then setting a goal to sew and quilt 5 letters at a time.

Note: I made lower case letters because, in my experience, they have been more difficult to learn to write than upper case. Plus, we mostly write in lower case. ;-) Not sure if I will get around to making an upper case set or not. But, when she outgrows them, I will cut the button off so baby can play with them. 

See that little tool on the right, next to my Fiskars ~ that was a huge blessing and made cutting the centers out a breeze! 

I used one set of pre-cut 100% cotton flannel quilting squares ($10) for the top, white felt that I had on hand for the quilting material, and a half yard of minky dot fleece fabric for the back ~ and they are super soft! 

I hung them on a wire clothes line on the wall so they would be easy to use. (Note: I have since taken them down from the wall because I wanted them more accessible to her and less work for me). 

I even quilted them in the pattern that her little finger should trace it. :-) I love the way they feel. . . and I think she does too!