Maggie Houston May 7, 2021 Dot to Dot
After first introducing children to dot to dots, you may want to offer a little supervision. Encourage kids to seek out the next number in the sequence. Its best to draw a straight, even line from one dot to the other, and dont forget to connect that final dot or the image wont be complete! At the same time, dont insist that everything be "just so." Kids need to be able to experiment and be creative, even if it means coloring outside the lines. Dot to dots have many variations, and some are worked using letter sequences alphabetically rather than numbers while some spell words. The skill level needed ranges from preschool-age on up. Sometimes, its immediately obvious what the picture is, while other designs will keep you guessing almost until the final line is drawn.
I quickly put away the jar, vinegar, and baking soda and moved on to another exercise and another and another. At the end of each mindfulness class, I conclude with the same exercise: lying on your stomach and drawing your happy place. As soon as I announce that we are going to be doing the mindful drawing, they excitedly drop to their tummies and wiggle with the anticipation of a kid on Christmas morning. I pass out the fresh white paper and a can containing shards of crayons. The second their crayons hit the paper, you can hear a pin drop. There is no goofing around, there is no talking, but there is complete mindfulness. For fifteen minutes, they will draw, colour, and become immersed in their creation. Of course the real magic is not what is happening on the paper but rather what is happening in their mind. They are thinking about their happy place and then making it happen on paper - perfect mindfulness. It is the same as when we use guided visualization to enter into meditation.
Keep in mind that the level of difficulty of the subject is appropriate for their age and their skill level. This can be difficult when you are working with a number of children of differing ages or when youre working with your own children and they are of multiple skill levels. Please remember never to use competitive words such as wrong, right best and ensure you praise, praise, praise. Even when drawing the same subject, each childs interpretation will ensure a unique piece of artwork every time. After all, how can they be compared, just as De Vinci cant be compared to Monet? If you notice that your child is taking a real interest in art and drawing you may want to get them enrolled in classes so that they can enhance their skills and embrace that aspect of their world. Children who are also experiencing difficulty mastering fine motor skills or displaying poor concentration skills will greatly benefit from these drawing lessons, just be patient. Providing they are not too distracting for the other students and are enjoying their drawing, keep encouraging them and praising them. In the end this will reap wonderful rewards both for the child and the teacher.
It has been a long while since I last wrote. I really miss it when I cant put my thoughts to paper (or keys... as it is). Last week I was teaching a bunch of kids aged 4-8 about the importance of mindfulness. This is a class which I teach every week. If you have never taught little kids before, it is much like trying to herd cats. The mindfulness class is one hour and for one hour I need about ten to twenty different activities as their attention span is so fleeting. Last week I had prepared a very exciting lesson using vinegar and baking soda to demonstrate how, when your mind is racing, it is like bubbles in the jar. I LOVED my new experiment and the kids were mildly amused for thirty seconds. I taught them to put their hand on their belly and breathe down the "bubbles of anxiety in their minds". Naturally as the acetic acid reacted completely with the sodium bicarbonate, the bubbles settled. Seemed like a compelling lesson? But, as with the others, it was... on to the next lesson!
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However, the temptation to stay within the walls of the fabulous HMV Ritz to see the very much buizzed about Dog is Dead was too much and proved not to be a disappointment. After a quick bit of tucker over at Oddest - a lovely little Oxford Rd bar with a fine selection of ales - it was time to get into the evening of the festival. The highlights of the night, which ran into the very early hours indeed, had to be the always entertaining The Drums at The Ritz, the incredible Lulu James over at Joshua Brookes and finally Islet at the Sound Control live lounge. It has to be said, that as the music shifted the latter hours at the club, things may have gotten a little blurry for some of us - but after a day like this I think its fair to say we deserved it.