By Wendy Swanson
Tuesday, June 8, 2021
Looking for a fun way to introduce the youngest family members to a bit of Lincoln? The staff at President Lincoln’s Cottage has a suggestion for you: a subscription-based game, “Lincoln Letters,” that challenges participants to develop Lincolnesque creative thinking.
Participants playing the game will receive letters mailed the old fashioned way (yes, by snail mail!) directly to their homes for three weeks this summer. The letters contain part of a Lincoln-inspired story. The senders: animals that Lincoln himself loved. Each letter will contain challenges – puzzles, hidden clues and problems to solve – before the next installment arrives.
The Washington Post described the activity in a Vicky Hallett article in its June 7 edition of “Kid’s Post,” a regular feature for young readers. As a means of introducing the concept, the article highlighted the story of Lincoln’s devising a means to rescue a pig stuck in the mud while at the same time keeping his own suit clean. A character, Pig Pal, based on the pig in that story, will be the narrator of the letters sent out to participants who, in turn, will be charged with finding solutions to problems included in the storyline.
The Cottage collaborated with Game Genius, a non-profit devoted to play, to develop the story. Activities will arrive with each mailing and families are encouraged to work together to solve the challenges, good practice for problem solving as a group. Pig Pal will mail hints to those stumped by the puzzles. A website is available to plug in the answers and learn more about the story. There’s no set schedule – families can work at their own pace to solve the puzzles. The approach represents a unique and creative way to introduce youngsters to Lincoln while developing new skills at the same time.
After all, one is never too young (or too old, for that matter) to learn about Lincoln and his talent in problem solving.
(Graphic credit: Montgomery, D. H. The Beginner's American History. Boston: Ginn and Company, 1902)