Thursday, January 9, 2014

ABC Scavenger Hunt

With three snow days this week and extremely cold temperatures (think negative 35 degree wind chills!), we were all starting to get a little nutty with cabin fever. Fortunately, I came up with a relatively simple (and secretly educational!) idea the keep the kids occupied for a bit one afternoon. They helped me sort through our alphabet magnets to find A-Z. (Remember, I mentioned before that we have a LOT of these?) This in itself ate up a few minutes. Score one for Mama!

Then, I arranged them around the perimeter of our dining table and sent them off on a scavenger hunt to find at least one item for every letter of the alphabet. At four years old, my little dude isn't all that great with letters just yet, but he was very good at finding things and his big sister was especially nice about helping him find the correct placement for each item. Teamwork! Score another point for Mama.

In the end, some letters were notably easier to find corresponding items for. For example, B and C were starting to crowd into the spaces that were assigned to A and D. On the flip side, some letters were downright tricky to find things that matched up with them. This sparked resourcefulness on Mia's part. She began asking questions like, "How do you spell vulture?" and then she wrote the words on slips of paper and placed them near the appropriate letter magnets. I could have told her this was "cheating" but it seemed like a pretty smart solution to me! Problem solving! Add one more point to my tally.

Also, it was interesting to see what types of unusual things they came up with for each letter of the alphabet. Yes, A is for alligator and Z is for zebra. Those are pretty standard. But when you think of M, do you come up with maze, maraca, or minion right away? Probably not! How about W is for wrench and wave bottle? Doubtful. So, I am considering this little game to require higher level analytical thinking skills, and again I say, score for Mama! (The teacher in me is quite pleased with herself.)

My friend Kim said that she did a similar scavenger hunt before but instead of collecting physical things she just had her kids take photos of each item. Maybe we'll do it that way some day, too, but not until we own a kid-safe digital camera. It seems like that would be ideal for an outdoors nature-themed scavenger hunt. (Find an orange leaf, find a nut, find a purple flower, find an insect, and so on...) Something to think about for when the snow finally disappears. At this rate, I am thinking that will be around June!

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