Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Some DIY activities in preparation for writing

Santino was introduced to a few new exercises yesterday and today: matching and recognizing shapes and letters. He also showed a tremendous progress in managing playdough!

I decided to try these new activities just to see whether he is ready. He pretty much nailed them! It took him some time to understand the concept of putting the shapes in the outlines when we were making the bulldozer picture yesterday. Then he got it, and even did it a few times, as I kept mixing up the shapes. He was even able to glue everything together in the end!

The inspiration for the "bulldozer" activity came from here. I just loved this toddler-friendly idea, and how it totally matched Santino's interest in trucks with shovels. I cut out a few simple yellow and blue rectangles and a black oval with yellow circles. I outlined on a carton where the shapes are supposed to go.

I explained to Santino that we will make a bulldozer picture with these shapes. I showed him the toilet paper tube cut in half that was going to become a bulldozer's shovel. He got very excited, grabbed the "shovel" and started shoveling the paper shapes. I think that is why it was hard for him to concentrate on the activity at first.

In the end, Santino did make the bulldozer, and I attached the shovel so that it would be able to move, almost like a real bulldozer. I attached the tube to a yellow craft stick, and then loosely wired this shovel to the picture. I glued coffee grinds to the bottom of it, just to give it a more rugged, working digger-like look.

This activity gave me an idea of Santino's ability to concentrate on matching shapes, and today I attempted upgrading him to matching letters. This is a simple DIY activity. I wrote SANTINO in large bold letters on a large paper sheet. Then I cut out these letters out of construction paper and gave them to Santino to try and match each letter to spell his name.

He was very good at it. He matched everything perfectly, only stumbled on one of the Ns, which got accidentally turned over and didn't look like an N anymore. Mommy fixed that, and Santino's first ever name writing exercise was completed!

After this I just let him have fun with playdough and pasta, and some lentils. I drew a happy face on the playdough and showed him how to fill the lines with the lentils. He followed the line for a while, filled the eyes, but then didn't want to continue. He didn't like the happy face and asked for an angry one.

By the way, I noticed what a great improvement Santino showed in handling the playdough! He was squishing it like a pro, with a very strong grip. He loved making dinosaur prints and pasta installations.


Then he said he was a dinosaur! He actually was saying it before, that's when he got a green marker and tried painting himself green. When I asked what is he doing, he said "I'm a dinosaur". And roared.