Drawing 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 follow drawing prompts or free 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.
- 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.
- Cut out some images that are full of action. You want it to look unfinished so they want to finish the picture.
- Tape to plain paper.
- Invite your artist- he was super excited to see them.
- Have your child choose one of the drawing prompts and start drawing. There was no lag time or whining about not liking to draw he just dove in!
- 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.
- I am glad I made a bunch of drawing prompts, 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 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 for reading and also drawing prompts.
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 pleasantly 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 an 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.
Nicole K says
I appreciate the point you made about boys reading books relevant to their topical interests as their interest in books wanes. My son was a good reader at 4 but he was reluctant to read much. We discovered that he would sit and happily read superhero leveled readers. I hated them as they were poorly written and not interesting at all but it got him reading and his skills dramatically improved during that time. (We also let him earn the treat of watching a Batman cartoon for every book he read on his own – another tactic I did not care for but found was quite effective)
Now, at 5.5 he enjoys mystery books and humorous stories when he’s doing the reading (Cam Jansen, Amelia Bedelia, Frog & Toad). I read the Velveteen Rabbit to him recently and he adored it, begging for more when it was finished. He was particularly excited to listen to me read “George Washington” by D’Aulaire last week. We read the entire thing in one sitting – quite shocking considering we’d already read about four books about George Washington before it! So for all the parents out there concerned that feeding their preschooler’s interest in poorly written books will ruin them for life, be encouraged!
Wow – So simple, so brilliant! Thanks!! Can’t wait to set this up for my boys. 🙂
maryanne @ mama smiles says
I love this idea! Now to see if my kids agree – they are quite precious about their toy catalogs! 🙂
I’d be lying if I wasn’t a little worried she was going to freak out. We have so many though – and he’s very attached too.
This is so BRILLIANT!!! I saw that same pin and thought it was a nice idea, but I wasn’t sure how to actually carry it out. I can definitely find some pictures in a toy catalog that would be the perfect drawing prompts. Also, I love your son’s drawing of the lego lightsaber fight. 🙂
That makes me so glad I posted!
What a great and timely idea. I like too how you reassure him that he draws exactly the way a 3 or 4 or 5 year should. I’m going to use that for my little perfectionist. Thanks, as always, for the inspiration!
Activities For Kids says
This is amazing idea; my daughter loves to play outdoor games. Recently, I have tried to make her busy with some arts and crafts ideas. These ideas is very good I will make her to do with some barbie books as she love those dolls.
Love this idea! Thanks, Allie!