I loved this cute idea by countingcoconuts for cute little spelling toys. They're so easy and so cute!
I used 1" wood blocks from Hobby Lobby (don't forget your 40% off coupon!) and trimmed a dowel to stick out the ends just enough to fit and glue on the end wood balls. Paint the blocks and balls before assembling and gluing. I used vinyl letters, but I don't recommend it. The kids just pick them off, so writing them on with a permanent marker would be more practical.
Go over to countingcoconuts for a much more informative tutorial if you're interested in making these. She has some really great educational ideas for the kiddos.
block one: b, c, h, m
block two: a, e, o, u
block three: d, g, p, t