There’s no doubt about it. Teachers LOOOOOVE Pinterest! During my first years as a teacher, I spent many loooong nights on Pinterest searching for teaching and learning inspo for my class. I remember coming across these amazing Alphabet Drawers and just knew that I needed a set for my own classroom! They are just perfect for storing little figures for each letter of the alphabet which can then be used for sorting and matching activities.
So I decided that I was going to make a set but I found it really hard to find suitable drawers here in Australia. I searched all over the internet and found similar drawers at places like Ebay and Amazon. They were soooo expensive to ship here though! Some had only 20 drawers and my slight OCD couldn’t handle having some letters sharing drawers. Nope. Couldn’t do it! Nothing was quite right…that is until I stumbled across the set from Jaycar. They are listed as ’30 Drawer Unit Parts Cabinets” and they are just $29.95! You want to know the best part? You can add them to your cart and pick them up from your local store so that you don’t have to pay shipping!
Making your drawers
Okay so now that you have your gorgeous cabinet for the Alphabet Drawers, it’s time to make some labels for the front! Do this yourself by measuring the drawers, adding a table to a document and inserting your letters. Print and cut them out, then you can attach them to the front of your drawers using clear adhesive contact. I find this works a lot better than double sided tape as it saves you from needing to laminate anything!
Filling your drawers
Here comes the fun part! It’s time to start searching and shopping for little objects to put inside the drawers! I raided my craft cupboard and toy cupboard first and I found things like pegs, buttons, coins, dice and small plastic animals. Next I headed to my favourite stores like Kmart and the dollar junk stores. Things like novelty erasers make the perfect addition to your drawers! Mini Zoo also have fantastic tubes of objects that I’ve used in my drawers. This process might take you some time, especially for some of the trickier letters. If you find it hard to get objects for certain letters, you could always print off some photos from google images to fill them up some more.
So what do I use these drawers for?
When your Little Learners are exploring different letters and sounds, you can use the drawers for sorting activities. Empty the contents of two drawers onto a mat and have them sort the items based on the initial sound of each item. I like to use little bowls to sort the items into but you could also sort them onto place mats or pieces of felt. In the image below, Little Learners are matching their items to my alphabet cards.
Some items might lend the opportunity to talk about phonemes and graphemes. You could also have your Little Learners go on a scavenger hunt to find items to place inside the alphabet drawers. To extend the activity, have students stretch out the words and write the sounds they can hear.
If you like this activity, you will love my Mini Beginning Sound Alphabet Books!