I took my children on a walk on the farm this winter in search of all of the hidden letters of the alphabet on our farm both in natural and built structures. I got this idea from the Alphabet City by Stephen T. Johnson where a photographer did the same thing in a city, using buildings and benches. Our version could be called Winter Alphabet Farm, I imagine we could come up with a whole new one in summer.
This was something I thought would be so much harder than it was, I expected it might take several hikes and we might lose interest searching for certain letters. But by some sort of magic we found every letter of the alphabet plus a couple of bonus shapes and numbers within about an hour.
I fully expected to get stuck on certain letters like G, but we wound up finding a perfect G within seconds of leaving the front door with part of a cultivator. With G in our back pockets (or in the camera), I knew it was possible. Q was the hardest, but appeared to us at the end when we were ready for lunch and just sort of playing around the barn. And the K drove us a little batty, but we finally spotted one up in the tree tops.
And check out the H, it was a shadow of a vine that kept blowing in and out of the letter H. The children were yelling, “take the picture now” as the ephemeral H formed and disappeared in a vine blowing against the side of the hoophouse plastic.
Both my four and six year old children were great at this game and I can’t tell you the number of Ts and Vs we spotted. We allowed ourselves to use both natural and built structures on the farm and hoophouses figured in pretty heavily. While I was tempted to sneak in a couple of actual letters from the side of tractors, my son insisted we keep trying. I did allow myself to flip and crop pictures, but that was all.
I highly recommend this game to everyone, especially parents of children learning letters. Also, it would be fun with a whole class, ABCs of our schoolyard? Of course, feel free to make your own rules. It seems like a great way to reinforce letter shapes, you could go on shape hunts, number hunts, find other alphabets like the Hebrew Aleph Bet, you might never stop! Anyway, here is our slide show, enjoy.