Now the warmer weather is finally coming it’s a great time to get out in the garden or on the deck, with an easel and crayons or paint and paintbrushes. Use large pieces of paper so your child has complete freedom of movement. It’s important to encourage the freedom of large movements on a large surface to help develop their hand and eye coordination and fine motor skills. It’s refreshing to let your child develop their creativity in their own way. They can also paint on the paving stones with water and a paintbrush or they can use sidewalk chalk.
Children need to develop their large movements before finer movements are introduced. Use large pieces of paper and large movements of swirling motions with crayons before they begin to hold a pencil.
Your child should have a balance between ‘freedom of movement activities’ and ‘following a model work’ (i.e. colouring pictures, using worksheets, writing letters, etc.) Encourage your child to create their own pictures and shapes with the freedom of not having to stay between the lines. Both activities are important to the balanced learning of pencil control and hand and eye coordination. (excerpt taken from ‘Teaching Parents How To Teach’)
On page 8 of our book ‘Teaching Parents How To Teach,’ is an abstract pattern that can be used to help increase hand and eye coordination and fine motor development. Your child needs plenty of experience with the freedom of movement on large pieces of paper before moving to this worksheet.
This page is downloadable from our website here and can be printed many times to practice with. One of the first exercises you can use with this page is to show your child how to drive a small car around the track, increasing the rotation of the wrist. The next exercise is following around the pattern with a paintbrush and paint. Again this helps with the rotation of the wrist, and increases their control as they follow the pattern. As your child becomes more comfortable and shows more control in following the abstract pattern you can move onto crayons and finally pencils. Encourage your child to try to stay as close to the line as they can.
‘When you first introduce a pencil demonstrate how to hold the pencil between the thumb and index finger with the middle finger resting behind. – this is called the pincer grasp or grip. If your child is left handed then demonstrate the pincer grip with your left hand so they have a model to follow.’ (excerpt taken from ‘Teaching Parents How To Teach’)
When your child is comfortably following the pattern, and is showing good pencil control, you can increase the difficulty by encouraging them to stay right on top of the line. It takes a lot of pencil control to keep a smooth, flowing line using a coloured pencil, without any of the colour showing either side of the line.
Your child can use the abstract outline to create their own picture, a face with hair, a monster, a road, the ideas can be endless.
When you purchase your own copy of ‘Teaching Parents How To Teach,’ from Sprouts Children’s Boutique, you can download and experiment with all the other worksheets in the book. Enjoy learning how to support your child through pre-school and into the early grades of school.
Paul Abra of Island Parent Radio will interview Jill Whitehouse, author of ‘Teaching Parents How To Teach,’ this month. Check their website for the schedule