I recently made sure to collect a variety of sticks: some long, some short, some very straight, and some slightly curved. Because I knew Travis and I had stick letters in our future!

The following day, I dumped out the bag of sticks on the floor and told him we’d be going through the alphabet.

Now, this was a real test for Travis as we prep for kindergarten, because I knew it would require patience to work through all 26 in one sitting, plus he had no guidelines to follow for the letters. I am thrilled to report our summer work is paying off; he was fascinated and focused the whole time.

Part of the fascination is that we turned it into a challenge: which letters would take the fewest sticks, and which the most?

He started confidently with 3 sticks for A. But then B really gives him pause; I pointed out that to make curves, we needed more sticks, but they had to be short ones. That meant a total of 6 sticks for B!

He began working his way through the alphabet and this was a great way for me to notice which ones gave him pause. At first he boldly clustered the lines of E together. I helped him see one went at the middle, one at the top, and one at the bottom.

M and N were a little tricky. We focused on a vocalizing an “up down up down” pattern to help him get there.

Could he turn P into an R by adding only 1 stick? He could, no help required!

Curvy S needed *so* many sticks.

But the winner for the most sticks was the curviest – Q, requiring a total of 8.

Meanwhile, he aced the ones that used only 2 sticks: L, T, and V.

We loved everything about this activity, from the nature walk to collect the sticks, to the feeling of accomplishment, to the fun of making each letter.