Augusta Golden May 8, 2021 Dot to Dot
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.
The other type of eraser is just a soft white, plastic eraser. I like the white kind made in Japan. Do not get the pink ones, because they will tear up your paper, and they deteriorate quickly. Same for the pink erasers on the end of your school pencils. Never use those for your drawings. Finally, to do your final artwork, you will need a good black pen. I usually use the cheap felt tip markers, but you can pay a lot of money for specialty marking pens just for drawing or drafting. I dont feel like I need to spend so much money, so the cheaper ones work fine. If you want to add color to your work, you can use markers or color pencils. You can start with a cheaper set and wait until you know you are serious to get more expensive markers and pencils. Youll know they are the good ones, because you will be able to buy them separately, usually for a couple of dollars per pen or pencil.
Highly portable, dot to dots, like coloring pages, are great for travel. Theyll keep kids busy and guessing for a fair amount of time. Be sure to provide a good pencil and plenty of crayons. Dot to dots are such a proven favorite that there are now versions available for adults as well as online dot-to-dot activities. The Internet makes it especially handy to instantly download and print dot-to-dot puzzles, often for free. Whether youre just looking for a fun activity or youre looking for ways to build fine motor skills (where the small muscle movements work in coordination with the eyes), its easy to "connect the dots" and see why dot to dot puzzles and activities are a great choice for home or school.
This Saturday marked the fifth annual International Dot Day, a day dedicated to encouraging students creativity and inspiring confidence. Classrooms around the globe have been celebrating this and last week with unique activities such as dot art, musical "sound dots," and using dots to help teach maps and math. Dot Day was started by teacher Terry Shay in Waterloo, Iowa, to celebrate the publication of Peter H. Reynolds childrens book "The Dot"; the book shares the story of a young girl named Vashti who is encouraged by her teacher to "make her mark." In the story, Vashti tries to prove to her teacher that she cannot draw by making a small mark on the paper while declaring, "There!"-Vashtis art teacher then encourages her to be brave and use her imagination to see where this dot could take her.
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.
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!