This blog is here for you to find fun learning activities to do with your children. We share great ideas we find and love on the Internet, as well as ideas we come up with on our own! We also like to share resources we find helpful.

To find ideas for your child, click on the age range blog label or on the theme/topic you are looking for (on the left side of the page). In each post, we try to list optimal age ranges for the activity, but you must judge for yourself if it is appropriate for your child. When you try an activity out, please comment and let us (and everyone else) know how your child liked it!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Up and Down

Age Range: 18 months-3 years

  • crayons
  • paper
  • cardboard
  • scissors
  1. Draw a skinny rectangle on the cardboard
  2. Cut out the rectangle (I found that a sharp knife helped me get started, then scissors did the rest)
  3. This creates a stencil of sorts that is fat enough for crayons to be used

Place the stencil on the blank paper and grab a crayon. Trace up and down inside the stencil, saying/singing "Up and down, up and down" with the appropriate motions of the crayon. Let your child choose a crayon. If your child will allow, put the crayon in his hand and guide his hand going up and down just as you demonstrated before. Use less guidance as you see your child ready to do it independently. Show him the line he made using the stencil and crayon.

If his interest holds, try this going from side to side as well, saying "left and right, left and right" to work on directions.

  • fine motor
  • pre-writing
  • position/direction

I took this last one because at the time my son was holding the crayon perfectly, just as you would grip a pencil to write. Of course he moved his hand a bit right as I took the picture, but you can see that he's not holding the crayon in his first and is putting sufficient pressure on the crayon even if the angle is slightly off. Using enough pressure is something he's had to work into, I've had to explicitly encourage and demonstrate that since he began coloring at 12 months. If you do this activity with an 18-24 month old they may or may not have good pressure on the crayon yet. That's fine, it's one of the benefits of letting kids color actually.

As for the hand position, there is no need to force correct hand positioning at 2 years old, but just look at your own hand as you naturally hold the crayon. Keep it in mind and when your child seems open to it try to gently guide your child to holding the crayon similarly. Bad grip habits are annoying to overcome in kindergarten and first grade. Somehow my son has always had a pretty accurate grip at least 50% of the time with little explicit instruction on my part. It may be because I tend to color with him (yes, I know that may not be cool but hey, coloring is fun!) :) Sometimes an accurate example to model is all a child needs. Most kids need some sort of real practice and instruction at some point. In fact, I hold my pencil incorrectly to this day because of my kindergarten instruction (or lack thereof)! As you can see in the photo below Tobias is doing something similar, angling his hand down towards him, which makes it hard to write neatly. So for him I'll need to work on fixing that asap, mostly by trying to correct my own grip.

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