3 Stages of Tearing Paper

Tearing paper is a fun and simple activity for young children. It’s also good to exercise children’s fine motor muscles. Therefore, it’s great if we occasionaly let children do the activity. 

But do you know that, if you pay attention to children’s fingers while they tear paper, they will tear the paper in different kind of ways. Here are the ways you may see:

  1. Tear  by grabbing the paper with both hands on the left and right sides of the paper.   
  2. Tear by holding the paper with fingers of both hands on the left and right sides of the paper.
  3. Tear by holding the paper with thumb and forefinger of each hands on the left and right sides of the paper.                          

    And do you know that the differences in tearing the paper actually show the strength of children’s fine motor muscles in stages. Here are how each ways show the strength:

    • The first way mentioned above means that the child’s fingers muscles are not strong enough to tear the paper. That’s why he needs to grab the paper to tear it. 
    • The second way means that the fingers’ muscles has been stronger than the first one to tear the paper. 
    • The third way means that the child’s fingers has been strong and ready to tear paper in anyway she needs to.

    Knowing the stages of tearing paper is important because it will make us able to

    • Prepare the paper which is suitable with children’s strength to be torn. For example, give the soft or thin paper when children are in the first stage. By doing so, they will be able to tear the paper easily which will make them feel fun and happy doing it. And this will make them want to do it more than once. As they often doing so, their muscles will be strengthen. Then, we can gradually give the harder and thicker paper. This eventually will make them reach the second and the third stages.
    • Recognize children’s fine motor muscles strength. The recognition will make us able to figure out the kind of activities which is suitable and proper based on children’s ability. So we won’t give the activities which may still too difficult to do by our children.

    That’s all about tearing paper activity. It’s not only fun for children but it can also show us how far our children’s fine motor muscles have developed. And this can be our basis to think of other activities which will develop our children’s ability even more.

      The Easy to Follow Drawing for Children: Christmas Trees

      At the age of four, children’s fine motor muscles and cognitive skills have developed quite well. This will make them able to draw. If we show them simple drawing, they would try to follow it. Just as the pictures of Christmas Trees below which are easy to follow by children.

      christmas-tree-picture

      The steps:

      1. Draw the triangle and say triangle while we draw it (This will be good to strengthen children’s ability in recognizing triangle)
      2. Draw the rectangle and say rectangle while we draw it
      3. Draw the circles and say circle everytime we draw it
      4. Color the pictures

      christmas-tree-picture_2

      The steps:

      1. Draw a tiny triangle and say triangle while we draw it
      2. Draw lines as in the pictures above which create a Christmas tree
      3. Draw rectangle and say rectangle while we draw it
      4. Draw the circles and say circle everytime we draw it
      5. Draw the star and say star
      6. Color the pictures

      christmas-tree-drawing_3

      The steps:

      1. Draw a triangle and say triangle while we draw it
      2. Draw the trapezoids and say trapezoid everytime we draw it
      3. Draw the circles and say circle everytime we draw it
      4. Color the pictures

      When children have finished drawing the trees, they would show us proudly of what they’ve drawn. If we encourage them to explain their drawings, they might add story to their drawings or add another drawings to the pictures such as the presents underneath the trees and much more.

      All the activities above, start from drawing, naming shapes, coloring, explaining and creating story to the drawings will give advantages for children. They will be able to:

      1. Strengthen their fine motor skills
      2. Strengthen their shapes recognition
      3. Relate their real life experience with the drawings they’ve made
      4. Bring out their creativity by creating story based on the drawings or by adding more pictures to the drawings.
      5. Build their sense of achievement and confident as they’ve been able to follow all the steps and finally draw the picture they’ve seen.

      With many advantages children can get, let’s ask children to draw. Show them many kinds of drawings which are easy to follow by them. Adjust the drawings with children’s ability. This way they would be stimulated to keep drawing which in the end will make them improve their ability even more.

      Happy drawing!

       

       

      100 Piece Wooden Block Set (Part 2): Ways to Play it and What Can be achieved

               On the previous posting, I have written some ways to play 100 piece wooden block set. The ways are sorting blocks based on color and shapes, and games with the bags. Here, I only write the basic way to play the block set. It’s building or arranging the block set. It can be made into building such as house, castle, or anything as children’s imagination allow it to be. It can also be made into many things and arranged on the ground. It’s like when we play tangram.

                There’s no rules to play it. Just let children to build as they want to be. Let their creativity kick in. Hence, we can also guide the play (in the beginning) and give them example. It will give them perspectives and ideas which they may not think of. And this will stimulate them to create even more. Below is some ideas to guide in the play and some activities examples for children in different age.

      1-2 Years Old Children

      Here are ways to play the block and what can be achieved:

      • Stack the blocks into tower

        Show children how to stack the blocks into tower. What they are going to love in doing this activity is when they see the blocks falling down. It is so because at this age they love seeing something that moves. If we stack the tower high enough until it falls down, they will laugh and want to see it again and again. Yet, don’t just make them laughing. Ask them to stack the block by themselves. When they do it, they may arrange the blocks as in the picture below.

        Blocks Stacked by 2 Years Old

        As you can see, the blocks are not in a vertical line. That’s why the blocks will fall down easily. It’s not unusual to arrange the blocks as in the picture for 1 – 2 years old. It’s because making the blocks in a vertical line requires the spatial skill and fine motor muscle controls. As they are in the early stage of developing both skills, therefore arranging the blocks in vertical line is still a difficult task for them. Hence, ask them to do the activity often. This will make both skills developed.

        Something to be noted is when we show how to stack the blocks, we have to do it properly, not with the intention to make the blocks fall easily (though it will make our children laugh and excited). If we do it properly, the higher we stack the blocks, they will fall down eventually. We need to do it, so our children can see the right  example of how to stack the blocks. It is important because what they see will be kept in their memory. The example will become a standard which will stimulate them to do as we do. When they fail to do what we do, which is actually normal (due to their developing ability),they will try to figure out how to stack the blocks as we do. And this, actually what makes children developing their spatial and fine motor control muscles. They try, fail, think, learn, practice, succeed and all the experiences kept in their memory. This is when the new ability is achieved.

        Yet, do not always show them example. Do it occasionally. In the times we do not show example, let them to stacks the blocks as they want. This will make them bring out their original creation.

      • Building the blocks

           Ask children to build different kind of blocks vertically as in the picture below.

      Toddler plays 100 Piece Wooden Block Set with Carrying bag by Imagination Generation

      Do the steps as in stacking tower. Show our children example, let them try to follow what we do, then let them create their own buildings.

      3 Years Old

      Basically ways to play it the same as 2 years old. Yet, there will be differences. At this age, children are commonly able to stack some blocks in a vertical line by themselves like the picture below.

      Blocks Stacked by 3 Years Old

      This is a result of previous experiences. When they are able to do this, it actually shows their development in spatial and fine motor muscles control ability. If our children haven’t been able to do this, don’t worry. Just keep practicing, they will eventually be able to do it. Remember practice makes perfect. Yet, don’t be satisfied with this. Encourage our children to do more. Give more variations and more difficult tasks of how to arrange the blocks. This will make them keep thinking and developing their ability even more. Here are some examples:

      Pyramid  Colorful Pyramid
      Stairs  Colorful Stairs.png

      There are two more abilities added to arrange the blocks as examples. They are following pattern and sequencing. It seems easy for us adult, but for children it’s not as easy as it looks like. To make the stairs, they have to arrange the blocks in sequence of blocks amount: one block, two blocks and three blocks. It means they have to know the sequence of numbers and the actual amount that is represented by the numbers. If we make the stairs in different colors, it will add difficulty levels as they have to combine two attributes at once, number and colors. They also have to use their spatial skills and fine motor skills. So, many tasks at once for a simple activity.

      As in building blocks, they commonly have been able to build many blocks to higher stack and able to arrange the blocks in neat vertical arrangement as in the picture below. Let them to create the building as they want as they have enough basic abilities to make their own creation which may surprise us.

      3 Years Old Build the Blocks

      4 Years Old and Above

      At this age, they are commonly able to do the tasks in previous age. Give them more challenge. Ask them to create things from the blocks. At first, as in previous age, we can give examples and let them follow what we create. This will, again, practice their ability to follow pattern. It’s better if we give difficult pattern to follow. Then ask them to create their own thing. This is a more difficult task to do, as they have to imagine thing they see in their life or even from their imagination. Then they have to project what’s on their mind into real thing through blocks. This requires imagination, shapes recognition and making pattern (which is a cognitive skills).

      Here are some examples of pattern which can be made with 100 piece wooden block set (note: the blocks are put on the ground).

       Car A Dog  Lorry
       Smiley Face 2  Giraffe Boat at the Sea

      Note: All the patterns above are only example and they are made with the 100 piece wooden block set. Create more examples of pattern and buildings for children such as house, castle, building with bridges, etc.

      Those are the ways to play 100 piece wooden block set. Hence, there’s something to be noted. Basically when our children play, let them play as they want it to be. As this will stimulate their creativity. On the contrary, we can also give examples -only do it occasionally- as those will give them perspective they may not think of yet. As they like to follow what adult do, they will definitely try to follow the pattern. And this will give them chance to learn and practice many abilities they needed such as: spatial skill, fine motor, following pattern, and shapes recognition. Later, after they master the basic skills, when they play the blocks by themselves, they may create their own pattern or buildings creation which may be more complex than the ones they created before. When they have been able to do this, it will be their great achievement as this shows a further development of cognitive skills.

      So, keep 100 piece wooden block set for your children. Give them chance to develop their abilities more with it.  Happy playing with your children 🙂

      Related Posting:

      100 Piece Wooden Block Set (Part 1): Ways to Play It and What Can be Achieved

       

      The Opportunity to Arrange Schedule: A Basic to Achieve Schedule Making Ability

               After children grasp the concept of schedule in terms that schedule is basically the sequence of daily activities, it’s time to take the next step. It’s giving children the opportunity to arrange their own schedule. This can be started as early as 4 years old. Of course at this age, they are not making the whole schedule, only arranging certain activities. For example, a 4 years old is given the opportunity to arrange the sequence of their entertaining activities after school like whether firstly they’re going to play their toys or watch their favorite video.

                The kind of activities they can arrange will be varied. Those will depend on:

      1. The values of the family.

      Arranging schedule is one kind of responsibilities. It’s because schedule can’t be made/filled with fun activities only. It includes activities which may not be too liked to do. Yet, it must be done as it is important for our life. When it comes to responsibility, every families has its own rules/values related to it. These will determine what activities can be arranged by children.

           2. The age of children and the abilities they’ve developed.

      Children’s age usually determines what ability they have developed. The abilities determine what are the activities they will be able to arrange by themselves. For example:

      Age Activities Children Can Manage
      4 Play time in the afternoon. They can arrange whether firstly they want to watch movie or play their toys.
      5 Activities after school. They can arrange whether firstly they want to play or take a nap.
      6 They can arrange activities related with academic activities. For instance, they want to do homework after school or in the evening.

      As children grow and they have learned more about responsibility, more activities can be arranged by themselves. They also can be given the opportunity to set the time. So, basically the opportunity to arrange their own schedule is given step by step.

                Understanding both factors will make us easy in determining the activities they can arrange. It’s important to do because we have to give limitations. If we don’t do that, they will make schedule as they pleased without considering the responsibility that attach to the schedule. For instance, they may want to play or watch video all the time and not doing other important activities.

                After determining the activities children can arrange, it’s time to tell them the good news. Why it is good news? It’s because the opportunity to arrange the schedule will fulfill the need of self independent. A fulfillment of a need will give satisfaction which in turn will make children proud and happy. Something that makes happy is a good news.

                In telling this and how the opportunity can be applied, there are ways we can do:

      • Inform children that they can arrange some activities. Explain the reason why they can only arrange some activities, the responsibility behind the schedule arrangement and the consequences  (if there is any). This way will make them learning about the responsibility that attach with the schedule.
      • Ask them to write and draw on a schedule table (which is basically the same as the table in the schedule board). For example:

      Schedule Table Writing by 4 Years Old

      Note: The activity drawing means playing time.

      The schedule table can be written on the paper or on a dry erase board, like

      Autumn Theme Magnetic Dry Erase Board with Marker

       

      Starting at the age of 4, we can ask children to copy the words of daily routine, time, activities and ask them to draw/doodles the activities. While starting at the age of 5, instead of drawing, we can ask them to write the activities. It is good to start making the table by drawing or writing because at the age of 4 and 5, they are eager to do both activities. So, we basically encourage them to do the activity they like and fulfill the need of self independent (in this case, fulfilled by the opportunity to arrange their own schedule)

                The combination of the fulfillment of child’s need and the encouragement to do child’s loving activities will make children doing the activities excitedly. When they do something excitedly, they tend to do it over and over. Something that is done repeatedly can become habit. And this will be a good basic for children to have the ability of making schedule in a responsible way.

      Related Posting:

      Daily Schedule Routine (Part 1): It’s Benefit in Dealing with Young Children

      Daily Schedule Routine (Part 2): The Example

      Daily Schedule Routine (Part 3): It’s Application in Life

      Introducing to 2 & 3 Years Old Children by Sequencing Daily Routine Activities

      Introducing Schedule to 2 & 3 Years Old Children by Sequencing Daily Routine Activities

                Introducing a concept for children under 5 years old is always best by stimulating their senses. The stimulation will enrich their experiences. The experiences will be kept in the memory which will be retrieved from the memory storage when those are needed to recall a concept/ an information. For instance, a child  learns about cat by seeing the picture from book. From there he  may know (after we told him, of course) that a cat has furry body, four legs, paws and tail. Then, he sees the real cat. When he sees it, he may not realize spontaneously that it’s a cat because the real cat is moving, bringing out ‘meouw’ sound or it may have different fur color with the one in the book. It’s why, he needs time to say that it’s a cat or he may even think that it’s not a cat due to the differences. Yet, if a child learns about cat not only from the book but by interacting with the cat like; touching, hearing the cat’s sound, playing or even feeding, he will also be able to get information about the cat from all his senses. So next time he sees another cat which looks a bit different (let’s say it has different color), he will be able to say spontaneously that it’s a cat. It is so because he still can find the cat’s characteristic such as the sound, the cat’s fur texture, etc.  Therefore, the more information a child gets from all his senses, the more he gets the big picture of a concept. And this big picture is the one which will be useful for him to understand a concept.

                This process is applied to every concept. So, when we want to introduce schedule to 2 & 3 years old children, it’s better if we give many stimulation other than telling the time of the schedule & looking at the schedule board. One way to stimulate and introduce the schedule is by sequencing the daily routine activities. To do that, we have to make daily routine table which can be played by them.  Below is the explanation how to make it.

      Things we need :

      Felt (Use any color you like. The blue felt on the right is only example). The size is adjustable based on your need. I recommend minimum
      size of 12” x 24”.

      Felt

      Ribbon (It’s optional.You can change it with felt or paper which color is different with the felt)

      Ribbon (1)

      Letter Foam

      Chenille Kraft Company Wonderfoam Letters and Numbers, Approx 1500 Pieces, Assorted

      Laminated and printed time card (We can make or download it from the internet). The size is adjustable based on your need. I recommend
      minimum size width 2.5” and height 1.5”

      Time Card

      Laminated and printed daily activities card (We can download from the internet). The size is adjustable based on your need. I recommend
      minimum size width 2.5” and height 1.5”

      Daily Activity Card

      Velcro. Cut as the size of the time and daily activities card.

      Velcro (1)

      Glue gun

      Glue Gun (1)

      Bulletin Board

      Cork Bulletin Board

      Here is the picture of  the daily routine felt table:

      Daily Routine Board for 2 and 3 Years Old Children

      How to make the board:

      • Prepare the felt
      • Paste the letters foam onto the top of the felt
      • Paste the ribbon as divider among daily routine title, time and the activities
      • Paste the soft side of the Velcro on the felt
      • Paste the rough side of the Velcro at the back of the time card & daily activities card

      How the activity is done :

      • Ask children to paste the time and the daily activities cards onto the felt.
      • For 2 years old children, we can give the time and daily activities cards one by one based on the daily routine sequence. At the same time, mention the time and the activities described on the card. Therefore, they can repeat the words.
      • For 3 years old children, we can show the picture of daily routine sequence (we have to print the example). So, they can paste the cards in sequence by looking at the example.
      • After they paste all the cards, we can hang the felt onto the bulletin board. So, they can see the daily routine schedule they’ve arranged.

      That’s the activity to introduce schedule to 2 and 3 years old children, It’s simple activity. Yet, there are advantages they can get. Here is the list:

      2 Years Old Children

      3 Years Old Children

      – Early stimulation to understand schedule concept

      – Further stimulation to understand schedule concept. This time by giving activity which gives insight that schedule is basically the sequence of daily activities

      – Enhance the vocabularies about number, time and daily activities

      – Enhance the vocabularies about number, time and daily activities

      – Practice fine motor skill by pasting and pulling the Velcro

      – Practice cognitive skill by asking them to follow the sequence as example.

                Make the daily routine felt table as toy which children can play it over and over. If the activity is done routinely, it will make the children grasping the schedule concept as they learn mostly through repetition.

                It takes time to prepare the daily routine table. Yet, it’ll be worthy for our children as they will get many stimulation about daily routine schedule such as being told about the time, looking at the daily routine schedule board, sequencing the daily routine activities, doing the activities and later using schedule application in the gadget. Those stimulation will give big picture about schedule which make them understand the daily routine schedule concept easily.

      Related Posting:

      Daily Routine Schedule (Part 1) : It’s Benefit in Dealing with Young Children

      Daily Routine Schedule (Part 2) : The Example

      Daily Routine Schedule (Part 3) : It’s Application in Life

      The Opportunity to Arrange Schedule: A Basic to Achieve Schedule Making Ability