DIY Montessori Sandpaper Numbers (with TouchMath points) and Letters(Capital and Lowercase)

I have begun teaching my son the letters and sounds using a combination of videos, Montessori Object Boxes For Beginning Sounds, flashcards, and tactile letters in the Red Letter Book. I also have been working with him on rote counting. We are soon to begin working on recognizing the symbols and one to one correspondence. We also have the Blue Number Book. (You can buy the Red Letter and Blue Number Books as a set.)

He is doing well. He knows five letters: M, S, T, O, and C. He knows the sounds more than the names, but we will work on that later. He can rote count to 20 so now we will begin understanding quantity and symbol.

I decided that I want a tactile letter in each object box. (Actually bag. I decided to store the objects in ziplock bags because in tight spaces they are easier to store. I just made bags for about half the letters and store them all in a cloth grocery bag.) I use a I decided to use Dnealian font because it generally requires one stroke to form the letters, reducing confusion. (Cursive would serve this purpose even better, but cursive is much different than the texts he will be reading. Dnealian is not exactly the font used in books, but it is closer.)

I found a wonderful template for the numbers and lowercase letters on Walk Beside Me. I had a hard time downloading the template as did others so I have linked it through Google Docs. I then used the images on Alphabet Soup to create the template for the capital letters. The lovely people at Walk Beside Me were able to squeeze all of the lowercase letters on two pages and the numbers on one page (but you will have to flip the 6 to make the 9). I had a bit more trouble getting the great squeeze accomplished with the capital letters. I created the template with reversed letters of comparable size to those I had found. They print on 7 pages. Now, I am sure that you can cut them out and squeeze them in a bit more, but that is a lot of work when sandpaper is less than a dollar a sheet. So, here is my plan. (Will post pics when I am done.)


  • Board (I used presentation board, which is like a $6 posterboard that is harder than cardstock.)
  • 3 packs of sandpaper
  • Glue (I used good ol' school glue)
  • D'nealian templates
  • Paint (red and blue)
  • Black paint


  1. Print your templates.
  2. Paste them to the back (smooth side) of your sandpaper.  
  3. Use the templates to cut out your letters and numbers.
  4. Now, here is a good place for selection. You can paint the letters or paint the boards: blue vowels and red consonants. (This creates a connection to the moveable alphabet which also employs that color scheme. I am using tempera paint to paint the board, but painting the sandpaper would use less paint. I just don't know how that would work out.)
  5. Paste the letters to the board.
  6. Hope you enjoy using the Sandpaper Letters Material.
  1. Follow steps 1-6 above for traditional sandpaper numbers.  But I want to add something extra.  I want to employ the use of touch math and encourage one-to-one correspondence. 
  2. If you want to add the TouchMath concept, use the black paint to add the dots according to the TouchMath Program. (I intend to offer TouchMath to my son. It helped me tremendously as a child, and even as an adult, I find myself using TouchPoints when I am in a hurry.)
  3. If you would like to take this activity a bit further, you could add a one-to-one correspondence activity, by adding the appropriate number of circles to the side of the card in the pattern used for the Cards And Counters pictured with extensions here.  (I chose to do it this way instead of the traditional way because my child is very young.)
Below, you will find the traditional presentations of these Montessori materials:
Cards And Counters
Sandpaper Numerals

Here is a bit more about using TouchMath.  This link includes information about the way the TouchPoints work, video demonstrations, and more!  I never approach any educational program or method as though it is the Holy Grail, but rather, another addition to my bag of tricks. I approach it as another option for the child to add to his repertoire.

**NOTE: This is a plan. I will add the rest of the pictures when I finish and delete this note. I just wanted to get the template for the capital letters out to anyone who may need it!**

UPDATE: I went to Dollar Tree and bought a 12 pack of sandpaper sheets for $1. I will likely paint the vowel boards blue with my homemade poster paint and let you know how that goes.

  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS


Sarah de Villiers said...

Hi there

I am desperate for the D'Nealian template (lower case) but cant seem to download it anywhere.

Is there anyway you would be able to email it to me please on


daya Monay said...


The link for the template wasn't working so here it is again until I get a chance to update the post.

Rebecca said...

Thank you so much for the letter templates! They were perfect!

Post a Comment