Alphabet Summer 2011: Find the Alphabet

Want to have an Alphabet Summer with us this year?  It's one of our favorite family traditions. This year is our fourth annual, and the agenda is definitely the best yet!

For us, the point of Alphabet Summer is to provide just the right amount of summer structure, to do some simple and playful summertime adventures, and to avoid the summer slump without busting out workbooks and getting all school-y. 

Here is how we've done things in the past.  This summer, on each alphabet themed day we'll do three things that relate to the letter of the day:  (1) Find the letter as part of a summer-long scavenger hunt, (2) make something, and (3) read and write something.  Everything on the docket is meant to be easy (for me), fun (for everyone), and fairly fast (so we still have time to eat popsicles and run through the sprinkler.) We just do two or three letters each week, so we have days off for other summer adventures.

Here's the finding part of our Alphabet Summer plan:

Alphabet Scavenger Hunt  

Each morning the kids wake up to find directions leading them to the alphabet treasure of the day.  For the most part, treasures will be hidden around the neighborhood.  Though I'm sure some days I'll be lazy and hide them in the house, and occasionally I'll be ambitious and hide them someplace else, like Dad's work, grandparents' house, or somewhere really adventurous.
  1. I write some simple clues/directions to help kids find the treasure, along with a treasure map of course.  
  2. My husband cooperatively drops off each treasure on his way to work in the morning. He's a good sport!
  3. When the kids get up, we go for a walk and find the treasure.  Treasures are any little thing that starts with the letter of the day. (And probably something that that isn't particularly valuable, for obvious reasons.) 
  4. They can draw or write about their treasure if they'd like.
Variation (Also known as, An Even BETTER Plan):

Have the kids determine the treasure and do the hiding.  They make directions and a map and you find the treasure.  I kind of love this idea because it's less work for the parents. Oh yes, and it allows the kids to do the creative thinking, writing/drawing, etc. (Self directed learning = thumbs up!)

My boys actually came up with the first plan (I hide, they find), so that's what we're doing this year. I do think either version is fabulous for different reasons.

Details on the making and reading/writing parts of the plan coming up next week...

What do you think?  If you want to play along, chime in below in the comment section and let us know how you're celebrating Alphabet Summer at your house!
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