Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Some of the most successful language activities that I have created with children have been drawing activities. This is in spite of the undisputed fact that I can't draw very well at all. I am most successful, I admit, with children who, themselves are not yet talented in drawing.
Picture this: I sit beside a mostly nonverbal child who is busy scribbling on a large white paper with markers. I pick up a marker and start tapping it on the paper saying "dot, dot, dot, dot, dot" The child stops scribbling and starts dotting the paper with me, often saying "da, da, da". So I move on to my next very interesting idea and draw a long line saying "line, line, line, line" and the child tries to copy me and says "iee, iee, iee" and so on with "circle" or "wiggle wiggle". I might move to a simple face game (described and demonstrated here) where I draw "happy" or "sad" or "scared" "or "mad".
A more verbal child would inspire me to start drawing shapes, naming the shapes, and then after I have a full contingent of shapes on the paper, I might start to play the "Bye Bye" game where I say "Bye Bye circle" and then scribble it out. After saying farewell to a few of the shapes, I would hand my marker over to the child and say "Bye Bye Rectangle" when the rectangle is the only shape left. Then on to letters. "Line, line, across. Hello H", "Line, bump, bump. Hello B" and so on for several letters.
If the child were a little more verbal, I would draw beside the child while asking "What color should I make this Kitty?" "Do you want a Mommy Kitty or a baby Kitty?" "What kind of tail do you want...long or short?" I would throw in comments like "Uh Oh! This is a sad Kitty! Look. Tears."
If the child were much more verbal I might say, "Here is a swing set. There are two swings. Two boys are on the swings. One boy in a blue shirt and black pants is waiting, and waiting, and waiting. " (The child next to me would surely have a blue shirt and black pants.) "This boy wants to swing. What could he say?"
Here is a cool art program from Crayola where you can draw with your child on the computer.