Drawing & Development: A Short Guide to Children’s Art

Posted by on Jan 30, 2013

Drawing & Development: A Short Guide to Children’s Art

Art projects are a crucial component of our Playtime Project play curriculum, because making art is critical to all aspects of children’s development. Art helps kids to: build strength in their arms, hands and fingers (physical development) practice hand and finger control, which helps improve writing skills (physical development) practice coordination of the hands and eyes (physical development) explore textures, colors, and tastes (cognitive development) plan a creation and make decisions about how to create it (cognitive development) explore and express their feelings (emotional development) expand their creativity (emotional development) work together and share (social development) interact with others (social development) Just as we monitor the development of our Playtime kids by noticing the number of words they use or how well they can throw a ball, we can also use art to make sure the children are developing as expected. As always, children develop at different rates, and there is a range of what is considered to be normal development. However, here are some useful guidelines for some things you should be looking for in children’s art (other than beauty!): 6 months – 1 year: Very young children can use art materials as a sensory experience. They aren’t quite ready to create fine art, but they can squish paint, pound playdough, and grasp crayons (all with VERY careful supervision, of course) 1 – 2 years:  Children this age begin scribbling! However, they can’t yet control their elbows or wrists and may not associate their movements with lines appearing on paper. They likely won’t able to sit and scribble for more than a couple of minutes at a time.2 – 3 years: Scribbling should be more controlled as children gain control of their arms hands and finger, and their hand-eye coordination improves. You’ll see repeated motions, like a series of ovals or lines. By age 3, they should be able to sit scribbling for 10-15 minutes. They may begin to identify their scribbles as mom, a house, etc.3 – 4 years: As children learn to control their hands and wrists, they begin to make more recognizable forms, such as circles, lines, and crosses. People are common drawings – they tend to be large heads with lines representing arms and legs growing directly from the head.  Children this age regularly name their artwork, indicating that they are learning that drawing is a way to communicate!4 – 6 years: Drawing begin to have more form and can be recognized by adults as people, houses, etc. They begin to add details to their people, such as feet and hair. Color becomes very exciting to children this age, but color is not used realistically and adults should allow children to choose their own colors rather than use realistic colors. By 6, art will begin to incorporate more realistic and detailed – fingers, necks, and clothing should be appearing on human figures. Children show more interest in the quality of...

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These Monsters Make Learning Shapes Fun!

Posted by on Oct 17, 2012

These Monsters Make Learning Shapes Fun!

www.houseofbabypiranha.com  One of the Playtime Project’s October curriculum themes is “Monsters,” and this colorful activity is a great way to help kids learn their shapes while also getting in the Halloween spirit! Before you get started, make sure you know what level of shape & color recognition you should expect from children of different ages: By age 2: Begin sorting by shape & colorBy age 3: Copies a circleBy age 4: Draws circles & squares: copies square shapes; correctly names some colorsBy age 5: Copies triangles & other geometric patterns; correctly names at least 4 colors. Help kids develop these skills with these cute & kooky Shape Monsters: Materials:Bright colored paperBlack paperScissorsGlue Directions1 .Cut out large shapes from the colored paper: squares, rectangles, circles, diamonds, triangles . . . these will be the heads/bodies of the monsters ** Bonus developmental fact: Most children should be able to use scissors by age 4! 2 .Cut out other shapes to be eyes, teeth, mouths, arms, legs or anything else you think might be fun to make monsters! 3. Glue them together! This is a super simple project, but the result is adorable & kids will get lots of experience identifying shapes & colors. Happy Monster Making! Interested in learning more about what children know about shapes? Check out this...

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Playing Pretend Boosts Brain Development

Posted by on Oct 15, 2012

Playing Pretend Boosts Brain Development

Dressing up in princess dresses and firefighter uniforms and whipping up delicious meals in the play kitchen are favorite activities in all of our Playtime Project playrooms. These activities and other imaginative games are lots of fun for all children, and provide a special respite for kids whose current reality is life in a shelter. But did you know that pretend play is also associated with cognitive benefits such as increased language usage and the development of “theory of mind” (the awareness that other people’s perspectives may differ from our own)? Research shows that pretend play and “make-believe” are linked to the following positive behaviors in children age 2 and a half  – age 7:– reduced aggression– delay of gratification– heightened civility & empathy– improved social skills & communication skills– problem solving– cognitive flexibility & creativity (in fact, childhood imaginative play has been linked to increased creative performance later in life!) One study even found that make-believe games were more frequently played by Nobel Prize winners than by control groups! Read The Need for Pretend Play in Childhood Development, by Scott Barry Kaufman, PhD for more information, & keep up all that great imaginative play in the...

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Playtime is Catching Olympic Fever!

Posted by on Jul 27, 2012

Playtime is Catching Olympic Fever!

Kids can make these fun Origami Rings The Olympics have finally arrived . . . and so has Playtime’s revamped curriculum! The first week of our August curriculum will focus on the summer games and kids will get the opportunity to learn about London, work on fine motor skills by making Olympic flags, develop gross motor skills in Playtime’s very own Olympic Games, and hear the story of Lolo Jones – an Olympic athlete who lived in a shelter as a child. If you are looking for other activities to supplement those available in Playtime’s curriculum, check out the following websites: Time For Kids: Here you will find Olympics articles, including ones  “Road to London,” “Passing the Torch,” “Paralympic Games,” “Athlete Q&A’s,” “London 2012 Venues,” “By the Numbers,” and “All About England.” Kaboose: Olympic-themed activities for kids include crafts, activities, games and a trivia quiz. Activity Village: Includes free Olympic coloring pages and printables, crafts, puzzles, worksheets, and even recipes to celebrate the 2012 Summer Games in London. Enchanted Learning: This educational website includes kid-friendly printouts, worksheets, activities and much more, including Olympic fun facts for the younger set. Primary Games: There are lots of things for kids to do, including Olympic coloring pages and games, fun facts and trivia, Olympic stationery and...

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