Monday, April 4, 2011

The Z Was Zapped, Yarn Letters, and The Alphabet Signs Song

I've mentioned before how much our family loves all of the Chris Van Allsburg books. (<-- Check out the link! His site is super cool!)
And when an idea popped into my head for an Alphabet Book craft, I couldn't think of a better book to use than his "play in 26 acts," The Z was Zapped

It's 26 of his intensely beautiful illustrations depicting each letter succumbing to an unfortunate demise.  Here are a few of the pages, to whet your curiosity.

So. After reading of the untimely end of the alphabet, we set out to create (rather than destroy) our own letters. 

I posted a letter craft on This edition of friday finds not too long ago, and was pretty excited to try it out. 

So, we rounded up some old wire hangers, 
a pair of wire snips,
a pair of pliers,
some tape,
and yarn.

I let the kids rummage through my stash, and pick out something that would make them happy. 

Then I set to work shaping the letters. I used my hands mostly, but brought the pliers in once or twice to make a neater corner, or flatten out the ends. 

Then I handed the letters (the first letter of each of their names) to the kids and helped them tie one end of the yarn to the letter at the topmost corner (or the closest I could get to the top, anyway) 

After that it was just a matter of wrapping the letters the way they wanted. (We used the glue on the sides to help keep the yarn in place.) This is where their personalities totally shone through. 

Max's letter was a beautiful mess. He also decided he wanted to attach an ink pen to the middle of his letter... (??) Odd things, bright red yarn, that, at the end, turned out looking like some sort of awesome spiderweb... that's my maxy. 

Annika's was neat and tidy. She got a little frustrated when the yarn got out of line, so I helped her get them all nice and straight. I love how hers kind of came out looking like a weird pair of pants. :)

And Owen spent most of the morning making his O into a rainbow-colored dreamcatcher. He wrapped the entire O in yarn, and then criss-crossed the yarn through the center to create the net-like part. Then he went out in the backyard to find some cool rocks, and hung those from the bottom of the creation. I love when the kids take a project and run with it!

While we were crafting, we made sure to talk about the letters, and their sounds, and to sing this little song alphabet song I made up to teach the signs for each of the letters. Signing the letters is very tactile, and it worked wonders with Owen and Max who have a hard time learning visually, when they were young. Here's the tune. (it's Jesus Loves Me) It incorporates the letter name, the sound, and the sign. 

** If you or your child don't know the signs for the letters, take a quick moment to learn. Not only is it helpful for learning the letters, but I use it almost every day when the kids ask me how to spell things. (They always seem to need to know how to spell 'hammerhead' or 'extreme' when I'm on the phone, or in the middle of a conversation. So I can just sign it to them, and reach a new totally awesome level of multitasking! Woo Hoo!!) 

Here's one final look at the letters hanging up in their new homes! 

Great Job Kiddos!

linking up to:

We Play

Shibley Smiles

play academy


Le Chateau des fleurs said...

That is very cool and smart ! Thanks for your visit and following you back !

Michelle said...

Oh my goodness, that is so fun!!!! We dont have any wire hangers here. BOO.

An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

Wow! If you can sign/spell while talking on the phone - you're a better multi-tasker than me :) Beautiful letters too, BTW.

Mama Pea Pod said...

Beautiful! I especially like Owen's, with the little rocks hanging from it. Lovely idea to hang on the kids' bedroom door.

AllieMakes! said...

Great job! And I can't wait to check out that book!
Thanks for linking up to Making It With Allie! I can't wait to see what you have for next week!

Shauna said...

I LOVE Chris Van Allsburgs books as well. Thanks for reminding me about this one. Great craft! How artistic. I found your blog from the Read Explore Learn link up and I can't wait to explore your blog more. I too love art, books, and my children.
Take care,

JDaniel4's Mom said...

I feel badly for the letters! Your hanger art is wonderful. Thank you so much for linking up this post.