Incase you didn't know by now, I harp on ALOT over on my facebook page about #simpleisbest #learningisfun. I want to instil in parents that they do not have to have the most expensive toys to hand, or to feel like they have to spend hours setting up an activity for their children. Everyone parents their children in a different way, and you have to do what works for you, but I want to reassure you that learning can be achieved in the most simplest of ways.
Yesterday, myself and the little Panda's went to an amazing event run locally and as part of that day, we collected some colouring sheets to take home. Today, they chose to use those sheets with the NEW pencils that they had also been given on the day. These were normal pencils, but they were sharp, they had rubbers and they were new! I love how children see anything as exciting, no matter how many of them they may already have, it's always exciting when it's new (and that doesn't mean shiny new, that means not had before - recycled, second-hand, library borrows - all these are new to a child)!!!!
My first instinct? I said to them "Feel free to get some colouring pencils out for your pictures if you'd like to". to which I was met with "No Mummy, I want to do shading today" by my 8yo. I watched as my 8yo showed me her range of shading techniques with her one new sharp pencil. Fabulous! I then watched as my 5yo copied his big sister and began using his new pencil to shade in his pictures.
The concentration and fine motor skills involved were remarkable! Then, he invited me to help him with his pictures. This involved lots of discussion on how we could both fit our arms onto the same piece of small paper at the same time. We tried using our left hands, which caused great giggles(!); we tried leaning around each other, which required gross motor skills and an awareness of space; and he also suggested splitting up sections on the picture for us each to concentrate on, which was problem solving.
He loved this activity so much, the simple act of colouring in together on a shared piece of paper, and he was so proud of his end results. The vocabulary that emerged was wonderful - referring to the scarecrow as wearing a tutu!! (look closely - it does look like one)
I also instigated mark making on the last piece which he then added to, which created some great discussions.