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If you have not noticed Summer is HERE! Alright, now that is established, let's get right down to business and say that just because Summer is here, does not mean that learning for our children has to stop.
In fact, the 'Summer Slide' is a very real thing. Children cannot retain what they have learned during the school year if their Summer is void of educational enchantment. Google Summer Slide statics and you will be absolutely blown away by the gap that is created for many children during the Summer months.
This is even true for preschoolers! Now before someone reads this and gets all upset because preschool is more for social learning than academic learning, YES I agree with you. But there is absolutely no denying that modern education has led to higher standards upon enter kindergarten. Children are often expected to have some level of reading upon entering Kindergarten. Those that don't are often behind. It's the sad reality of how modern education has evolved in the last decade.
When I am in my preschool classroom, I am not trying to teach children academics. My goal is to engage them in what writer and educator Susan Bauer refers to as 'enchanted learning'. Its a simple idea that there is magic or enchantment in education. Her new book "The Brave Learner" is worth reading and pouring through every page. She writes it from a homeschooling perspective, but educators and public school parents alike will glean amazing knowledge from her wisdom and experience.
There are any fun ways to engage preschoolers in enchanted learning, and for these summer months, let me offer one idea for enchanting your child's education. Take them on a ABC scavenger hunt!
Did I just totally let you down? I just made a very simple and easy suggestion that any parent or educator has probably thought of before. However, hold on for a second and let me add some enchanted dimensions to this classic and simple activity. Keep on scrolling for some ideas to take a ABC scavenger hunt to the next level!
Click on the Pictures to Download the PDF version
ABC Scavenger Hunt Materials
One of the great things about an ABC scavenger hunt is that there are many modificatios you can make to allow it to work for your students or children. Here are some ideas to make whichever scavenger hunt you decide upon to work best.
- Clip Board
- Binoculars (for outdoor hunts, you'll want to look high and low) (The one linked is great because they work, but you are not out much if a child looses or breaks them)
- Backpack for outdoor hunts (so you don't have to carry all the cool nature objects they want to keep). This one comes in lots of colors and pattern options.
- Stickers - Sometimes it's fun to simply cover up the letter on the worksheet with the corresponding ABC sticker. You can also use fun kid stickers like these animal ones to cover up the letters as you go. Disney of course is another fun sticker idea. Here are my favorite.
ABC Scavenger Hunt Outside
There are plenty of ways to adapt this scavenger hunt to enchant and excite a young learner.
- Find the letters in nature: Ask the child to point out letters as they see them in trees, grass, leaves, rocks, flowers, clouds, or objects. They don't have to be perfect!
- Draw letters with a sticks that are harder to find in nature. Use dirt, sand, or gently scrap away at a dead tree!
- Create letters with nature. Such as creating an F with a large stick and two smaller sticks. Create an O by placing leaves together in a circle shape.
ABC Scavenger Hunt Inside
- Although TV time is a carefully monitored commodity in most preschool homes, if you are going a little 'momma' crazy or it's a rainy day, sometimes that TV is a lifesaver. Add a little educational outlet to it by having your child find the letters in the show they are watching. They could do one of the worksheets or all of them!
- Have your child create letters using their body. This can become quite ridiculous and funny to try. Sometimes their brains thinks they are making a letter, and yet it looks nothing like the real thing. Go with it! They are having fun and still making connections.
- Create letters using house hold objects. Maybe the letter P is a butter knife and a bouncy ball. Maybe the letter O is the top of a lamp shake. The letter B could be two small balls connected by a straight lego! You get the idea. The options are endless.
ABC Traditional Scavenger Hunt Ideas
- When we do this in school, we simply wander the hallways with small groups of 2-3 and look for letters on the walls, signs, and on posters. The child has to point to them and identify which letter it is. We do one sheet at a time spread out thorough an entire school year. Doing the entire alphabet with preschoolers is not usually an option. Their attention span is just not long enough! We use clipboards and markers and the child crosses out the letter as we go.
- Get out picture books and have the child point out letters. Cross them out as they go.
- Use the worksheets in the car! Make it into a traditional ABC letter hunt. Find the letters on signs, license plates, and restaurants.
I can't wait to see what you come up with!