Ahoy me mateys! We hope you have been enjoying our new pirate series and all the activities that have been coming out with them.
Before you go ahead and get started with those, we’d like to just take a short minute and tell you why getting your littlies to do these are so good for their development.
Before any child starts to learn how to write there is a pre-writing stage that includes important developmental markers. If we encourage certain aspects of this pre-stage it will allow your children to smoothly move into writing with ease.
From about 18 months to 2.5 years, children will be processing the cause and effect of putting pen/crayon to paper. If I put the crayon down and pull it across the paper, it makes a mark or line. This range of ages is a great point to begin experiment with art materials, the more diverse the better. Don’t fret if your child doesn’t like some sensory ones, like finger painting. If they don’t, leave it for a few months and try again then. Using diverse art materials will stimulate creativity and get them to explore some sensory aspects through art.
Art, play and learning at this point in their development are all one and the same. By 2 to 3 years children’s drawings, with the strengthening of finger and hand muscles will start to become more controlled. This is a great time to start line practice, by that we mean getting them to go over and follow a line with a pen, pencil or crayon. This could be on paper, but it could even be as diverse as putting buttons along a line that is drawn out for them. This will help with their understanding that writing is made up of lines, curves and that patterns repeat themselves. Soon you may start to notice lines, curves and dots in their work, this is the beginning of your child recognising how words form.
Moving on to coloring and drawing. As well as pre-writing, you will find coloring is inherently linked as well. Both with coloring in books as well as more creative drawing they do themselves, coloring encourages dexterity and improves fine motor skills by developing the muscles in the hand and fingers. This in turn will help prepare their hands for writing. It is also useful for hand-eye coordination as over time they become more concerned about keeping within the lines of the drawing. Encouraging coloring will also be a really easy way to do some color identification practise in a relaxed, playful environment. Lastly, it builds and stretches creativity, it helps them process the world around them as they do an activity that is proven to be therapeutic and calming.
The pirate color by numbers brings three things together, color recognition, number identification and fine motor skills. While the pirate ship line practise brings together an opportunity for your kids to get involved with pirate tomfoolery all the while tricking them into doing some pre-writing practice. You might even find yourself joining in!
Printables to Download:
Now hop to it you scallywags!
Grace Selous Bull is an arts education author and freelance blogger. Her book, ‘Potty About Pots: arts and crafts for home and school’ is aimed at children from 5-12 years old and takes them through a journey of ceramics through time. Her blog, The Rainbow Tree, explores all aspects of arts and crafts, and is aimed at children of all ages. She is a full time Mummy of two girls, both of whom love being creative, and is married to her husband, Andrew, who does not. Follow her on instagram and twitter.
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