Now, if you live near a place that has sand, go build your own sandcastle.
Don’t have sand nearby? No problem!! Build a castle out of blocks, rocks, Lego blocks, or other items you have at home.
When you finish your castle, measure your castle. You can use standard and/or non-standard forms of measurement. The draw a picture of your castle and include the measurements in your drawing. After, write a story about what is happening in your castle. Who lives there? What adventures occur inside?
Today let’s make a drawing! I folded a paper into thirds and then folded that in half creating 6 columns on my page. I am going to draw one picture that shows 6 types of weather! You could always do that same concept with 3 or 4 types to make it simpler.
Learning about the weather and the effects of weather are learning standards in both kindergarten and preK. We learn about how to dress for weather, what patterns can we see in weather, how plants and animals are effected by weather and more. The biggest piece is talking about how it effects everyday life.
I could not let this unit go by without sharing the story Fredrick by Leo Leonni. Fredrick is a mouse who should be helping his family gather items for the long winter. But, Fredrick is a dreamer and doesn’t want to gather nuts or other items for winter. Eventually the other mice come to realize that Fredrick did gather something for winter… he gathered memories.
I enjoy this story as it shows children that it isn’t always what you see and touch that is important to “gather”, but there is value in the colors, the textures, the sounds of life.
A fun activity to do with this is to draw to music. Put on instrumental music and have your child draw what he/she feels. What colors do you think of with the music? Do you feel flowing or more choppy? Does the picture maintain a constant feel or does it change as the music changes? This concept of drawing to music often takes a few attempts before children get good at just relaxing and drawing what you feel. It is the visualization of feelings. Some children will draw specific items, and other will draw more abstract. There is no right or wrong… there just is.
I thought we would end our week on hibernation with a fun fiction story. Hibernation Station by Michelle Meadows tells the story of many forest creatures getting on a hibernation train.
In the story, you learn about more animals that hibernate: bats, snakes, chipmunks, groundhogs, skunks and more. There is so much more to learn about animals that hibernate. I hope you pick your favorite hibernating animal and learn a bit more.
Let’s draw a picture of the hibernation station train. Where would you put all the animals? Would it be made of logs or something else? Get creative
If you have been following my blog for a while, you have seen that I have my students draw… a… lot! Yes, draw pictures. The developmental range of drawing is very diverse in this age group. You can read about the development of drawing here.
The drawing of a self-portrait is often used to show developmental levels in children. As a teacher, I work hard with my students to help them progress through these stages. I have my pre-K and kindergarten classes draw a self-portrait every month and then send them home as a book at the end of the year. Parents are usually shocked with the progress from Mr. Potato Head to a fully recognizable person.
So… I encourage you to have your child draw a monthly self-portrait. You can use a sheet such as the ones I have in my teachers pay teachers store that provides a place for your child to write his/her name, the month and draw their picture in a frame or just draw it on a white sheet of paper. The most important thing is for your child to draw him/herself!
Children who are young 4s often draw a head with arms and legs. At this age, it is totally developmentally appropriate for this level of drawing. But, I encourage you to point out things that he/she might be missing. Simple additions at this age: hair, hands, feet, ears.
As your child progresses you will start seeing the addition of more body parts. One of the big things I push with my students is the addition of a torso. I’ll say do your arms and legs come out of your head? Nope! What are you missing? You are missing your torso the middle section of your body. How can we draw a picture including your torso?
Have your child look at him/herself in a mirror to see what else they can add to the picture.
I drew mine on a whiteboard, but I would have your child draw with crayons on paper. If you have multicultural crayons, that’s even better as you can get better representation of skin tones. You want the picture to be as realistic as your child can make it!
Yesterday we started our topic of “I Can Try New Things” based on the book by David Parker. Today I have another book for you to share with your kiddo about trying new things. The Thing Lou Couldn’t Do by Ashley Spires. Lou thinks she can do anything until her friends want to climb a tree, but she has never climbed a tree before. Finally Lou decided to give it a try, but… well things don’t always work out the first time. But, Lou realizes she can’t climb… well not YET anyway.
The concept of not yet is very empowering for children. It helps them see that even if they struggle doesn’t mean they will NEVER do it. So here is today’s project. We will draw three sets of illustrations. I would not have your child write, but focus more on the conversation that goes with the illustrations.
In the top row, have your child think about something they could not do when they were younger, but then can do now.
In the middle row, draw about something that they couldn’t do before but they are getting better at doing now.
In the bottom row, illustrate something that you are still working on learning and show what it will look like when you succeed!
Children love to draw characters they read about in books. Check out Arts for Kids Hub for their video on drawing Pete the Cat, and hear another Pete story! When I used Arts for Kids Hub in my classroom (or any type of direct drawing), I always have my students draw the illustration with pencil first, then go over it with black crayon or maker and finally color in the picture. I do this to show them that they can go back and erase the pencil to fix the pictures. This is important to show them as well as to erase yourself while doing it with them. Children need to know it is ok to make mistakes and they aren’t something to get upset about, but instead they need to just fix it and move on!
The second drawing activity today focuses on your child’s name. Children need to master writing their name correctly, not all in uppercase letters. Children in pre-k should work on recognizing and writing their first name. Children in who have mastered their first name should begin working on writing their last name.
Have your child write his/her name in the middle of a sheet of paper. (You can show them how to use block lettering if you want, but it isn’t necessary) Now create an illustration around your name, or use your name as part of the illustration. In my sample, I used the letters of my name as buildings.
Drawing projects are fun to do at the same time as your child. Children pick up on details to add to their illustrations when they draw at the same time as adults. You do not have to be great at drawing (I certainly am not!), your child won’t care. They see that you are doing the same thing as them and they become more invested in the project. So… draw!
I often mention these stages in my posts and wanted to have one post that I could link to to share the stages. I am also including some thoughts for you to consider when working with your child on writing and drawing.
In the world of pre-K and kindergarten children’s writing ability can be all over the map. I encourage you to tell your child to write. Even if they write scribbles or goobly-goop, they are writing! Then ask your child: “Read to me what you wrote.” Often times, they will say, I don’t know what it says. My answer to this always is “You wrote it, you can read it… tell me what it says.”
Squiggle lines to represent words
Random letters that have no connection the word they are writing (JmtIop=flower)
Writing just the beginning sound (f=flower)
Moving into hearing more sounds in words – teach your child to slowly stretch out the word to hear all the sounds (flr=flower)
Moving more into conventional spelling (flwer= flower)
conventional spelling (flower=flower)
Each of these steps is an important part of learning to write. I promise you… your child will not memorize flr as the spelling of the word flower, but giving them the freedom to write phonetically WILL give them the confidence to write. When children are dependent on adults to spell all the words they are afraid to write and won’t write. When they are given the freedom to write on their level, they will want to write!
Scribble-(18 months to 3 years)–random exploration of art materials. This helps develop hand-eye coordination, fine motor dexterity, independence and much more
Pre-Schematic Stage – (2 to 4 years)– drawing are simple, but are begin to look more like objects. Color plays a more important roll. Most drawing is outlines. People are heads with arms and legs (Mr. Potato Head people). This continues to work on the previous skills, but adds in observation, problem solving and pencil grip work
Schematic Stage (5-8 years)– more details are added including background and correct coloring. Learn to draw things in a specific way and use it over and over (always draw a house the same way etc). There are typically stories to go with the illustrations. They now work on trial and error, patterns, and interpreting illustrations
Pre-Teen Stage (9-11 years) –Drawings are more detailed, realism and spacial perspective. This is that point where children typically feel they can or CAN’T draw.
Children often need permission to be creative. When children draw we need to recognize that it may not look like what adults expect it to look like, but it is perfect to the child. Do not try to guess what your child drew, ask! Your child will love to share lots of details about the picture. Children need to feel pride and acceptance in the drawing stage they are already in!
We need to ask children questions about what they write and draw. Conversations is so important. Showing interest and excitement in what your child draws and write will spur him/her on to write and draw more!
Many young children have vivid imaginations, but when it comes to drawing, they tend to draw the same things over and over. I have discussed the ages of stages of drawing and writing in the past. Children develop through stages and the more the participate in drawing and writing the more proficient they become in the various stages.
So, lets get the creative juices flowing! Grab a magazine and cut out parts of pictures for your child to use as a jumping off spot for their own illustrations. (Whenever my children are drawing anything for writing purposes I use the word illustration… like in a book) I suggest that you, the parent/caregiver find and cut the magazine photos. The reason for this is that if your child see the the original photo, they struggle to go outside the box.
Here are two ways your child can use the photos… but do not tell them how to do it… see what they choose to do.
I cut out the photo of the shirt. I then made the alien around the shirt… why not? I would then encourage your child to write on the picture. Notice that I labeled the shirt, skirt and alien (in phonetic spelling). I also wrote on the top full sentences that a child may dictate to go with the illustration.
In this example, I cut hikers out of a larger photo. Providing pictures like this encourages child to work on the background of the illustration. This is a stage in drawing. Children often draw pictures of items on a blank page. I ask them if their person/object is floating in front of a white wall? Learning to see the whole picture and including the background adds depth and details to the illustration. Notice on this one, I labeled the illustration and wrote sentences in phonetic spelling as well as wrote a dictation.
If your child is writing, please, please, please…do NOT write the dictation on the front of the illustration. Often this makes children feel they do not have to write, or that their writing is wrong because it is not in “book spelling”. When I write dictations, I either write it on the back (I tell them it is to help their parents read their thoughts), or I write it on another sheet of paper and attach it to the child’s work.