Kindergarten-aged kids love to draw, and parents love the creative expression it allows them. But there are other advantages to letting your child go to town with drawing tools. Using her fine motor skills will allow your child's hands to grow accustomed to gripping small objects, which will in turn increase her ability to manipulate pencils, crayons, and scissors.
Want to give your kid a leg up in the fine motor department? Crack open a package of chalk! Chalk is a great writing tool for young kids because it's bigger than a standard pencil or crayon, so it's easier for small hands to manipulate. Plus, it works great outside, so kids can work those basic writing skills, all while in the summer sunshine: can it get any better than this?
Yes! Throw in some basic kindergarten physics (light and shadow), and you've got yourself a fabulous activity that will nurture the physicist artist and the artistic physicist in your little genius.
What You Do:
- Pack up your chalk and your child, and head out in search of a good canvas. Make sure you settle in a spot that isn't shady already; you'll need some good sunlight in order to make sharp shadows.
- Help your child find his shadow. Let him explore for himself how his position and movements affect the shadow. Talk to him about where the sun is in relation to where he's standing, and get his ideas on how a shadow is formed. Give him some suggestions for how he might make a fun shadowy shape on the ground. Remember that at this age, kids learn well by watching you! So don't be afraid to have some fun with your shadow.
- Once your child has found a position that he thinks will make an excellent shadow, have him hold still as you trace it with chalk. Once you're finished, switch roles and have him trace your shadow.
- Add details to one another's shadows. Go ahead and get silly with this part -- the more details the better. Add a top hat, a superman cape, or a pink tiara to your outlines. The crazier the better!
Still up for some more shadow play? People make great shadows, but don't forget about trees, toys, and pets (if you can get them to sit still for a few minutes!). Let your child take the lead as you search for other subjects to trace. And don't be surprised if all this shadow play sparks an interest in scientific discovery, or some unusual artwork, once the game is done.