Tuesday, March 11, 2014

DIY Alphabet Pocket Wall for Toddlers

Disclaimer: My level of sewing skills is definitely at the very bottom level of the "Beginner" classification. So don't judge me too harshly. Also, I am showing you a project that I haven't quite finished. That being said, those of you who are more experienced with a needle and thread and are more detail oriented than me will be able to make yours turn out way better than mine. (And mine is still cute!)

This is a really fun, easy, inexpensive project and my 18-month old girl is loving using it. Here's what I did:

1. I took a blue 40'' x 42'' piece of fabric (that I previously used as curtains) as a base for the project. Then, I used some patterned purple fabric (leftover from another project) for the pockets.

2. Using a rotary cutter and a cutting mat, I cut the purple fabric into twenty-six 5" x 5" squares.

3. Then, I ironed one white letter onto each purple square.(I found the iron-on letters at Walmart and to iron them on, you just follow the directions in the packet.)

4. Next, I found these cute colored shape buttons at Walmart and sewed one of each of the nine different shapes onto the purple squares that had A through K on them.

5. Then, I folded and ironed down a 1/4'' of material around the purple squares for the seam. I pinned the top seam to hold it in place (as shown in the picture below) and then sewed along the top seam using a sewing machine. (Sew a little and then back stitch. Then sew all the way across and then back stitch)--but only sew along the top seam for now. I did this for all of the purple squares.

6. Once all of the top seams were sewn, I pinned the purple squares onto the blue base fabric. You want to pin them so that the letter side is showing. You can space them however you want to. What worked best for me was having a row of six pockets on top and then a row of 7. Then a row of 6 pockets under that. And then a row of 7 again on the bottom. I left enough room between the rows for some letter flashcards to be put in the pockets without bumping into the row above them.

7. Once all the pockets are pinned into place, you are ready to sew them on. What worked best for me was starting in the top right hand corner of the pocket (remember to back stitch) and then sew down to the bottom right hand corner, taking the pins out before you get to them with the needle. Making sure the needle is still in the fabric, lift the presser foot and then turn the fabric so that you can sew along the bottom seam. Once the fabric is in position, put the presser foot back down and sew along to the bottom left hand corner. Making sure the needle is still inserted into the fabric, lift the presser foot and then turn the fabric so you can sew along the left side of the pocket. Once the fabric is in position, put the presser foot back down and sew along to the top corner of the pocket. Back stitch, and you are done! Repeat this step for every pocket.

Like I said, I am not adept with a sewing machine yet, but this was a pretty simple, worry-free project for me. The sewing part actually went pretty quickly for me. But the ironing and pinning does take some time. I would say that the entire thing took me about 6 hours.

Once your project is done, there are several activities you can do with your child. Here are some ideas:

- Letter recognition and sounds: Get some alphabet flashcards and have your child put each card in the pocket with the corresponding letter. You could do this with anything that is shaped like a letter and that will fit in the pockets. We have used letter magnets and letter-shaped cookie cutters. At some point, you can even give them objects and have them put the object in the pocket with the letter that is the first letter of the name of the object. Like a ball would go in the B pocket, etc.

- Shape recognition: Have your child look through the remaining shape buttons and put the star buttons in the pocket with a star on it--and the square buttons in the pocket with a square on it, etc. Again, you can do this with any shapes that will fit in the pockets. Small cookie cutters work well.

- Color recognition: I have 5 different colored buttons on my pockets so you could also do some color activities and have your child put different colored objects in the pocket with the matching colored button.

- Number recognition: I am thinking that I will sew some numbers on the last two rows of letter pockets. Then you could do the same thing with numbers. You could have them count out 5 marbles or buttons or objects to put into the pocket with a 5 on it, etc.

Anywho, those are some ideas.

I actually got this idea from a quick glimpse I saw of something similar in the video below. If you pause the video at :56 seconds and again at 1:44 you will get a good view of it. (The one in the video is MUCH cuter than mine...In fact, the entire house in the video is amazing. So maybe it will inspire you to go above and beyond my simple pocket wall.)

Apart from the video being a springboard for cute learning activities, I also appreciate the perspective it gives on parenting. I love being a mother. And being an earthly parent certainly has given me more perspective on what it means to have a Heavenly Father who loves me and all of His children. Enjoy the project and the video!


  1. I pinned this on Pinterest to save this idea for later. Thanks!

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