Alphabet Museum

Do you ever feel like you just have TOO much free time?  As a mama of 3 tiny humans and a homeschooler I feel this all the time…ok, maybe not.  But when I saw this idea on Pinterest for some reason my brain said, “Sure, you’ve got plenty of time.  You can totally make that.”  Well, I did.  And it turned out lovely.  But I’m not sure the time the kids used it was quite worth the hours of sleep that I lost.  (because I do most of my homeschool creating after they go to bed)

However, the kids did love it.  And we used it multiple times.  It probably would have been better last year when we were all in pre-school mode instead of a pre-school / kindergarten mix like this year.  But I wanted a fun way to kick off our weekly letter focus and this did provide the ‘wow’ factor for that purpose.

My original idea for this came from Teaching Elementary and Beyond (click on her image below to get to her site).  I immediately saved that picture because I loved the idea.  I also happen to have a million boxes because, well, Amazon.  The original is obviously much smaller, but I wanted something that both girls could use and I wanted more than one item per letter.  So my larger boxes actually worked well for that. 

I first traced the boxes on different colored paper and then cut a bit smaller than the actual rectangle – this saved me from having to go back and trim up edges as much as I fit them into the boxes.  I just used a few pieces of double sided tape for each box.  

Then I laid out the puzzle pieces for each letter on the floor and put various toys that we have near each letter.  This helped me decide which letter would need to go in the large boxes or the small ones.  The original idea has the letters in order.  But I needed to go by size and I knew the xylophone would have to be on the bottom so it didn’t fall over.  So I worked with what I had.  

I had black letter stickers in my scrapbooking collection and I used those instead of trying to write them all out.  But that would totally work too.

If you notice that my Q is empty, that is because apparently I had nothing for a queen or quail.  During the couple of weeks we used this, I stopped at the store and bought a little tiara and we added that in.  Also, some of the letters were more difficult to find so I used my Sweet Pickles series multiple times – y for yak, I for iguana, and V for vulture – cheating?  Probably.  Sweet Pickles is an olllllllllllld series that has a book for each letter of the alphabet and a coordinating animal.  I think they also had some spin-off books after the original series.  I grew up reading them.  Those books are older than I am!

I didn’t take many pictures while the kids were actually using it because there was a lot of interaction happening (and background noise from Braxton as he played the xylophone or begged to eat the nuts).  But that is also a good sign – they enjoyed it.  I did make a few videos.  The first one is pretty short.  Don’t watch the second if you don’t have patience because my kids LOVE to take their time and so this video turned out a bit longer.  You’ve been warned.

So, again, this project took a lot of mama behind the scenes prep work, but ultimately was fun for the kids.  Probably not a project for everyone, but sometimes I see something and just can’t get it out of my head unless I’ve created it.  This was a fun way to celebrate a new homeschool year and begin our letter focus.  I have TONS of books for the alphabet – below some of my favorites are pictured.  Maybe you’ll find a book you didn’t know about and get to add to your collection.