What Stick People Can Teach Your Child
Yes, the fine motor and spatial relationship skills needed to learn to write letters are all illustrated in the common stick person. Drawing is a great way to build prewriting skills. If you can make a circle head and a straight body, you’ve got the letters b,d,o,o and p. The diagonal legs and arms will later lend themselves to making the letters A, K, M, N,Q, R, V, W and X, Y and Z! If you can dot an eye, then you can dot an i, and a j!
I am not suggesting that you push letter writing the second your child exhibits this skills. Just recognize it as one readiness clue. Continue drawing for fun and letting them build up those little finger muscles needed for learning to write!
So once we value drawing as a prewriting skill, how can we encourage it? Offer young children a variety of paper mediums to keep the activity fresh. There’s no need to buy special papers. Paper plates, envelopes, brown paper bags and even cardboard boxes are fun.
Young children often find it easier to master writing on a vertical plane, like an easel, chalk board or wall covered with paper than on a horizontal plane like a table. This is especially helpful for youngsters who prefer standing and moving to sitting still.
Many classic writers and illustrators alike have been inspired by the great outdoors. Take your show on the road or atleast to the front yard. Side walk chalk is BIG fun. If the thought of finger paints in your ktichen makes you see red, try newspaper or freezer paper on a picnic table or side walk and you can see red, green and yellow too.
Here’a tip. When your child draws a picture, it is preferable to say “Tell me about your picture,” rather than to ask “What is this?” The latter implies the drawing doesn’t look like anything to you and the former encourages sentences rather than one word answers like “cat.” (Moms, This is a great tip to share with Dads! Dads, if you’re reading this yourself, high five!)
Lastly, while you’ll no doubt want to encourge drawing independently, try to often join your child in drawing. You’ll be modeling. It will be fun. Remember, you don’t have to be Picasso because stick people are important too.