Sometimes following your child’s interests forces you to look under an old piece of wood in the yard and discover all the creatures who live there. This has become an annual ritual for my four year old. He is fascinated by what can be found in the yard in the spring. He developed a fascination for worms and pill bugs last year, which led to some new reading material in our house.
We often borrow books from the library on subjects of interest to all three children, but sometimes purchase books like the above when someone is so infatuated with a subject we anticipate the need for a more permanent reference material. I knew nothing about pill bugs and very little about worms before being schooled by these informative books.
Making observations of the natural world and its inhabitants is a valuable experience. A child has the opportunity to investigate, observe, test, question and draw conclusions. He also develops an understanding and appreciation for living things with whom he shares his environment. To extend this experience further, it is good practice to have the child think about what he saw and draw it. This allows him the opportunity to remember the things he observed and to describe them to you or others.
I often ask my children to, “Tell me about your picture,” or ask “Would you like me to label your drawing?” Writing a child’s words on his drawing shows him that written words have meaning and that words are a way to communicate ideas. It aids in letter and word recognition. It encourages him to want to write himself.
When my son finished this drawing of what he saw under the wood outside, I asked, “Do you want me to write the names?” He responded, “Can I write them myself?” Success.
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