Monday, July 28, 2014

Your Child is an Artist #4

In Chapter 11 of YCIAA, Zaidenberg writes about "Play."

"Public schools have always missed out in this integrating process [the integration of art and play] by the failure to realize the stimulus involved. Art classes, except in the kindergarten stages, are made into study courses, weighted down with exams and grades, a procedure always loaded with ominous portent for a child."

Zaidenberg suggests three games: the Wriggly Line Game, Dot to Dot, and the Blot Game.

For the Wriggly Line Game, give your child a page of wriggly lines, or squiggles, and have your child complete the drawing with whatever image the squiggle inspires.

Dot to Dot: "The play involved in drawing a line from number to number...also stimulates the ability to draw" (pg. 70). A couple of years ago, I thought dot to dots had little value - something teachers gave early-finishers as a way of keeping them quiet. But then, while reading up on intelligence testing, I came across information on the WISC's subtests, specifically Coding.

The following is from Think Tonight's website:

Coding measures visual-motor dexterity, associative nonverbal learning, and nonverbal short-term memory. Fine-motor dexterity, speed, accuracy and ability to manipulate a pencil contribute to task success; perceptual organization is also important. 
One of the suggestions for improving a child's performance on the coding portion of the WISC is Dot to Dot.

I have a couple of Extreme Dot to Dot books by Mindware, including Around the World which has famous landmarks like the Leaning Tower of Pisa and Russia's Saint Basil's Cathedral. On rainy days, when my students are stuck inside for recess, Dot to Dots are a great inside recess activity. What I love about the Around the World book is that the pictures get students asking where the landmarks are, which in turn leads them to ask other questions about geography and world cultures.

(The Dot to Dot book on Think Tonight's site is - to put it lightly - extremely challenging. Here is an example.)

Zaidenberg suggests making your own Dot to Dots for your child by tracing an image. You could also have your child make a Dot to Dot for you to complete, or for a sibling, or in a public school classroom, for another student.

The Blot Game is like the Rorschach test. The student puts a little paint on one side of a folded piece of paper, folds the paper over, and viola - a blot. It's "calculated to stimulate an interest in design."

Now, grab your paint and go play.

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