Toy Catalog Drawing Prompts

drawing activity for kindergartenDrawing wasn’t always something my son liked to do. He loved to paint and craft but his perfectionist side reared it’s ugly head when he wanted to draw ” It doesn’t look the way I want it to.” After much encouragement that he draws just like a 3 or 4 or 5 year old should and a lot of displaying every single thing he drew it got better. But he still wasn’t enjoying drawing as much as I had hoped. Now you may say ” Why worry?” I wasn’t worried but I wanted to encourage it as much as possible as part of handwriting practice and basic fine motor development. When he started to want to draw his Lego scenes from catalogs I adapted this drawing activity idea after seeing this pin on Pinterest that lead to this blog post from ArtMommie using magazines.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some toy catalogs, brochures or instruction booklets you don’t mine cutting up. A pencil with eraser, double stick tape, plain paper and scissors. lego drawing activity
  2. Cut out some images that are full of action. You want it to look unfinished so they want to finish the picture.
  3. Tape to plain paper.
  4. Invite your artist- he was super excited to see them.
  5. Have your child choose one and start drawing. There was no lag time or whining about not liking to draw he just dove in! 
  6. He even wrote a caption. When you are working on something like this and your child uses invented spelling let it go. Do not correct it. Let them sound out the words and spell what they hear. This is a really crucial step in literacy if we only give them the right spellings without them trying to make sense of it they will skip this building block. There is plenty of time to get it right, but it’s a developmental process and you have to let it develop.
  7. I am glad I made a bunch because as soon as he was done the first he grabbed a second and started drawing. Oh and like I mentioned above these drawings are already on my fridge for all to see. Confidence is such a huge component of ability and when we display our kids art that builds their confidence even if it clutters our kitchens. It’s totally worth it.

Lego Books

LEGO City: All Hands on Deck! (Level 1) by Marlyn Easton is another Lego City themed book. If you have any of the Lego City building sets it’s likely you’ll recognize a few in the illustrations. My son loved seeing ones he recognized and loved telling me which of his friends have this set or that.  I think being able to relate to a book via favorite toys is actually really positive. Some parents will be apprehensive about books that sprang from a toy franchise but at this age when many children ( boys especially) start showing less interest in books , it can be a great tool. My son loves to read but loves reading these books even more and I am all for it! This story is even simpler following a group of sailors that save a windsurfer from disaster on the water. It’s also shorter than the previous with only 160 words which is great to build children’s confidence in reading which is also key to keeping interest high. MY one complaint is the complete lack of girls in this book. I know the audience is boys but by not including a single girl the audience of girls will drop even more.

LEGO City: Ready for Takeoff! (Level 1) by Sonia Sander is not just a cute book for Lego fans but also for anyone taking a trip by plane to get their kids ready for what to expect.  I was pleasently surprised by the quality of the details and how well it helps my son prep for air travel. We got it for a trip from Seattle to Chicago we took this summer and it was an instant hit. The text is a great mix of sight words, words that need to be sounded out and the illustrations are wonderfully helpful for kids needing visual clues for some words.  Even if you aren’t going on a plane any time soon this is a good book all about air travel, and it just happens to also be set in Lego City.

LEGO Star Wars Character Encyclopedia was the most loved 5th birthday gift my son received.  I can not tell you how much my son loves this book and as someone who adores reference materials herself I can’t say I blame him. I love this book too, it’s helping me speak his language and know who and what he’s talking about all the time. So like the cover says  it’s a character encyclopedia, there is no story, instead every page is dedicated to one Star Wars character turned mini figure. Now most of the text tells you about the Lego sets the mini figure comes in , variations on the mini figure and when it first appeared in the toy. However there is still a great description of the characters and huge illustrations of each. The small amount of text is perfect for my son and since he is into the characters not the collector like details he simply skips that without missing out on anything. I should say that this unlike the previous books is not a leveled reader. If I was making a guess I would say that it’s geared towards the average 8 year old. I definitely had to help read the majority of this book at first but now he’s got even the tricky names down pat. I love that we can read a little or read a lot . ** Since this original review was written in 2011 this book as become a all time favorite, one we pack for all long trips and we’ve even turned it into a quiz game as my son has memorized an amazing amount of it . We have since bought more similar books and he loves them all.

 

Make Your Own Travel Size Chalkboard

Turn dollar store clipboards into travel size chalkboards. This idea comes straight from my son’s kindergarten classroom. They do handwriting on little chalkboards and his teacher even pointed out that traditional chalkboards provide resistance that smoother surfaces like dry erase don’t. New writers often need that resistance to be successful in shaping the letters.  I made these during the week and when I put them out for my son this weekend I wasn’t even inside let alone ready with the camera before he was busy writing.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some chalkboard paint ( ours is from ages ago when we made our wall chalk board) , dollar store clip boards, a paint brush,painter’s tape
    and chalk for when it’s done.
  2. Start by taping off your board surface with painter’s tape.
  3. Paint. Let dry and add a 2nd coat.
  4. Peel off the tape. Voila – these cost me $1 each for the board, I already had the paint  and tape and 47cents for the chalk.  Pretty good deal.
  5. Write and write and write!  He loves them and if you have been following the saga of my son hating to write you will know that him loving  writing is a big deal. We just used a dusting cloth for an eraser, worked beautifully!

What I love about these is that they are small and light enough to take in a car or a plane but big enough for small hands to write on. They will definitely be in the bag for our next long plane ride but will be used all the time at home too.

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Write & Count Fire Trucks

This week is fire prevention week and we’ve been sharing some of our fire truck and firefighter themed crafts on our Pinterest and Facebook now it’s time for something new on the blog. This fire truck math activity is really also a writing one although I only marketed it as a math one for my son. See he isn’t super keen on writing but he loves math. He is a bit of a perfectionist and writing takes practice and it’s hard. So to temper the frustration he feels with writing I added a fun theme and another appealing task , the math. There was still some frustration but there were a lot of smiles too.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some red paper, a black marker, a pencil, and scissors.
  2. Start by drawing the outline of a fire truck. This does NOT need to be perfect, as you can see mine wasn’t and this took we 3 tries. One tip is to draw on on scrap paper and when it’s just right cut it out and use that as a template. Cut out however many you want.
  3. Add some windows, tires and the most important part the ladder. The rungs on the ladder are what your child will count and then write on the body of the truck.
  4. I cut out 7 but only drew on 5 not knowing if my son would want more than 5 . Good thing I did as you will see.
  5. Count the ladder rungs.math for kids
  6. Write.  After a few he asked if these were all I had. I grabbed the 2 extra and filled them in.
  7. Keep going. Flip over and write on the back if they want more!

Books

Find this post and all 20 reviews here.

15 Fine Motor Activities For Kids

fine motor development One of the things I hear from a lot of parents with children entering Kindergarten is that their child can’t write and they are worried about it. First thing is that your child probably can write but not as clearly as you think they ought to . There is a lot of pressure ( on kids and parents) and if your kids are anything like mine practice when they know it’s practice is not only low on the fun scale but it can actually be very discouraging.  Finding a balance between drill and fun is important. These fine motor activities help develop the crucial skills needed for being a successful writer. We also have a great list of worksheet free writing activities to check out.

Pound and Learn Hammering
Dry Erase Mazes
Simple Cereal Bird Feeders
Paint Chip Color Match
Write and Trace Place Mats
Lock & Key
Shell Sorting
Letter Rainbowing
Dry Erase Word Search
Clothes Pin Patterns
Design Your Own Lacing Pattern
Alphabet Glue Tracing
Cereal Bracelets
Playdough Play Toy Prints
Mining For Shapes

Art Cards & Purposeful Writing

real life writing for kids Yesterday was my son’s last day of preschool and we made these super simple art cards for his friends to wish them a super summer. These would also make fantastic Father’s Day cards. It was also a great way to get him writing . Real world writing projects where the writing is purposeful are a great way to get reluctant kids to write.  My son sat down and happily drew and then signed his name on all 14 cards which is a big deal for us because he definitely falls into the reluctant writer category. It was so easy and took no time at all , here’s what we did.

  1. Start with some markers and plain printer paper.
  2. Have your child draw a picture. real world writing for kids
  3. Scan and save.
  4. Next we used picmonkey.com to add text. My son decided which fonts to use and the background color too.
  5. Then we printed as a 5×7 and folded.  
  6. And back to the table to write .

So easy and he had a blast making them . I think we will be making many more .