Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Activity: Drawing a piece of knitting

Another fine motor activity that we made up the other day. I suggested to my son we draw a piece of knitting together. Sounds dull, but not necessarily so. I wanted an activity that required drawing lots of tiny lines for my own brain as much as his.

We both choose two different coloured gel pens. He drew a rectangle to indicate a scarf. I asked him to decide a pattern and nominate who should do how many lines. Then we took turns replicating his pattern with very simple straight lines to indicate a stitch.

Half way down the rectangle he requested we choose different pens and he redesigned the colour sequence. By the last few rows of the piece of knitting depicted his lines had become very neat and careful.

Becuase this was an inclusive activity and we took turns and he decided how things should look he remained engaged and ultimately very satisfied with the end result.

Sharing the burden works very well with children who have output issues because they fatigue quickly, but will remain engaged if they know a pause is due to them.

This activity also helps reinforce the notion of patterns and be able to recognize them.

I think the next pattern exercise we'll try may involve drawing guitar chords because he's interested in music. It could almost be like composition and then afterwards we could try to play the chords and see how they sound in reality.

Even though there's little evidence to suggest that repeatedly practising fine motor will necessarily fix or wildly improve written output trouble, I think it helps the child to feel like they can concentrate for a sustained period of time on something that involves precise fine motor work. It's all about the process for us right now and feeling capable rather than dejected and so the actual fine motor activity needs to be incidental to something else that's happening. In the above example he was overseeing what went on the page and directing operations.

It's interesting because previously I had much less success trying to get him to draw hockey shirts with numbers on the back. So you can imagine my surprise to see the replication of a piece of knitting proved more successful. Maybe because it was more abstract.

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