Developed by: The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation
A fun alphabet memory game that can be as competitive (or noncompetitive) as players desire, we love this app for its historical origins and broad range of difficulty settings.
Prepare to use the app by introducing one of these activities.
A Hodgepodge of Hotch Potch History. Click on “Help” in the opening screen to read about the history of the alphabet and the Hotch Potch characters. Then talk about other games your child knows that have been used to teach something. Is anyone in the mood for a round of “Red light, Green light?”
Help your child get the most out of the app experience by trying the following activities.
- Memory. Memory and literacy have a long intertwined history (see the “Memory and Storytelling” Branch Out activity offered below). Have your child keep track of their scores and levels achieved over a set period of time – perhaps two to three weeks. Do they notice any improvement? Encourage your child to challenge memory in other ways, such as memorizing a grocery list when they go to the store with you (you had better bring that list just in case, though!) or the steps of a recipe as you cook dinner.
- Be the “Posture-Master.” Take some screen shots as your child plays Hotch Potch. Can your child reproduce any of the poses? Take a picture of each letter pose your child makes to show them afterwards, and then print out the entire alphabet that they have created! Can they make numbers, too? This activity also can be done with a sibling or friend (two people would work together to make a single letter pose).
Extend the app experience with a real life activity.
Lettered pictures. Ask your child to reverse the process of Hotch Potch – can they use letters of the alphabet to draw a person? Give them paper and fine tip markers or colored pencils. Tell them the only marks they can use on the page are letters of the alphabet. Now see what kind of people they can draw! What other images can they create out of letters? You can adapt this activity for younger children by having them turn a single letter into a character. For example, have them draw a great big N and then give it a head, hands, feet, clothes, accessories, and personality!
Historical Pen-Pals. Ask your child to write a letter to a “pen-pal” in the 18th century using only the original 24 characters of the alphabet (no j or u!). Encourage them to ask their pen-pal questions about life in the 18th century. Extend this activity by researching the answers and drafting the response!
Memory and Storytelling. Humans have told stories for as long as we have existed, and one of the primary modes of storytelling is through oral delivery. In oral storytelling, memory serves an essential role, since the teller must remember an entire story. Of course, the role of memory in oral storytelling also means that there are many variations of the same story. Numerous fables and fairytales were passed along orally before versions began to be written down and recorded. Ask your child to memorize a story to tell you. Check out a book of fables or silly stories such as Squids Will Be Squids to give your child some inspiration. If you normally read them a story at bedtime, reverse roles and have them tell you the story they have memorized. Remind them it is okay if the story is not exactly the words on the page. They are now the storyteller with their own version!
Living History. The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, the organization that published Hotch Potch, is well known for its living history site in Williamsburg, Virginia. Make history come to life for your child by visiting a living history site near you!