Before Writing Begins

If you have a verbal learner, it’s likely stories are a joy for them. But what about your spatial learners–those that like to build with blocks? They will likely enjoy time at the easel and they will enjoy story stones because there is something to hold and manipulate. See the set for The Hungry Caterpillar–it’s perfect for using vocabulary, and begins the introduction into using the ABC stones for story telling.

On the back of the stones, you find green circles to represent the caterpillar. As your child turns the stone over he/she discovers what the caterpillar ate.. and ate … and ate!
Can you spy what the caterpillar ate looking closely at the wings?

Literacy is approached from every angle when you are living in the world of early learning.

The desk set allows children to scribble, draw pictures, learn to hold a writing instrument, begin to write letters and later, learn to string letters into words.

But…. before children begin using the tabletop, they need to strengthen muscles that support fine motor in the fingers and that begins at the easel or in the playdough or perhaps using squirt bottles.

It’s a fact that large muscles develop before small muscles. It’s for this reason, that children begin to “write on the wall.” Their bodies are telling them, I need to strengthen my upper arm muscle so I can be ready to use my small muscles later to write. When your children begin to show signs of wanting to write on the wall, provide them activities that allow them to move those muscles.

Here are few examples to get you started:

Art Easel activities, (children can paint a fence with a bucket of water)– it gives the motion and there is no clean up!

Provide a refrigerator box (or a very large box) and let them paint with washable paints. These boxes can become a straw house or a fire station or Santa’s workshop!

Provide a rubber hammer for hammering golf tees into a pumpkin. This is a great thing to do in October when pumpkins are plentiful. You can also use thick Styro-foam packing sheets for easy hammering. It’s the motion you are trying to achieve to work the muscles. To extend the learning, draw patterns on the pumpkin and have your builder hammer the tees along the pattern.

Stuff a brown lunch sack with torn newsprint. There are two systems at work: tearing the paper works on finger strength, stuffing the paper into the sack provides bigger muscle work. These can be decorated in November as turkeys. (Perhaps a Thankful Turkey that can be passed around the table so each person holds the turkey and says what they are thankful for!)

During the Christmas and winter holidays, set up a gift wrapping station. Use safety scissors for cutting, tape for pulling and I would suggest using newpapers and magazines for your wrapping paper. Provide stickers and just for fun–give them a marker to make their mark on a gift tag. Tags can be homemade from scraps of paper. If there is no interest in writing, do not worry, there will be other activities to support pre-writing later on when they are ready. At the end of the day, unwrap and begin again. This is such a messy, zany fun activity. Have your children hunt through their toys to decide what they want to wrap.

We will explore the Art center soon! There is much to do at the easel.

Have a great day!
See you tomorrow.

CK

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