Doreen Heath May 4, 2021 Dot to Dot
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!
Since its humble beginnings seven years ago, Dot To Dot Festival has gone from strength to strength and has served up sets from bands that have gone on to see incredible success. In the past, this has meant shows from the likes of Mumford & Sons, Florence & the Machine and The XX - but this month it focused back on some lesser-known acts hoping to break through in the same way. Taking place across three cities - Bristol, Nottingham and Manchester - the event has a pretty ambitious mission statement. In Manchester alone, it uses seven different stages at venues like The Ritz, Sound Control, The Deaf Institute, Zoo and Joshua Brooks, but while this is probably something of a challenge for the organisers in terms of business liability insurance, the backing of sponsors Fred Perry probably provides some small comfort.
Dot to dot puzzles, a classic activity many of us remember from our own childhood, is still a favorite of teachers and parents hoping to encourage kids to work on their counting and small motor skills. And, of course, the kids love them, too. The development of fine motor skills is important for academic success, and working dot-to-dots puzzles gives children a chance to practice gripping a pencil correctly and understand how numbers work in sequence. Besides being a fun process, dot to dots offer a reward in the form a completed picture that can be colored in and displayed. Dot to dots may be worked in pencil, with crayon or even pen. But when working dot to dots, as in life, mistakes can happen, so using a pencil with an eraser can avoid frustration, especially with the littlest kids, or junior perfectionists.
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.
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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.