the other day during one of our recent on-again-off-again rainshowers, i decided to offer the girls a few "special assignments" as they call them. no demands, no requirements, i simply made a few activities available and they took it from there, when they wanted and each at their own pace. it started off in one direction and evolved over the afternoon, resulting in something they can use for years.
the first special assignment involved a pile of foamy uppercase letters we had on hand and a large piece of paper where i wrote out the lowercase alphabet. as they happened upon the kitchen table, they immediately got to work - neither finished right then and there, and i am actually quite happy about that. they worked independently and came back to complete the alphabet in a few sessions, then each went on her merry way.
when they weren't looking, i then cut each of the lines of letters into strips and marked lines between each letter indicating where to cut. i left the letter strips along with a set of scissors at either end of the table with the first two letters cut out as a gentle nudge.
sure enough, they each delighted in a new task and got to work. and heaven knows, littles can always use practice cutting. again, when finished, both scampered off with a smile.
finally, i got out this old sectioned craft box i found under my cutting table a while back. as a guide, in each of the little cells, i put a card - again with the lowercase letters - then filled a treasure box with one set of cut letters along with a treat. i delivered a treasure map (we're big into treasure maps these days) to one of the girls and off she went, meanwhile i read with her sister in the other room so as not to ruin the alphabet mojo of one, or steal the surprise of the other.
delivered another treasure map a bit later, and guess what? we ended up with our very own movable alphabet made by the kiddos using what we had on hand. no it's not wood and not the traditional colors or all lowercase, but it's fantastic nonetheless - and it fits right into where we are in terms of reading and writing development. and the best part was the complete pleasure they took in each of their special assignments - perhaps because everything was so simply presented, perhaps because it allowed them to complete each step at their own pace, or perhaps because of the foamy stickers and tootsie roll. xoxo