Alternating between short active play times and quiet ones helps children learn and reduces everyone’s stress. Making murals is a quiet activity …
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Alternating between short active play times and quiet ones helps children learn and reduces everyone’s stress. Making murals is a quiet activity that keeps on growing over the months. For more easy activities see grandparentsteachtoo.org and pod casts at wnmufm.org/Learning Through the Seasons.
Roll of paper, crayons and markers, glue, and colored paper
Paper murals can be made from sheets of computer paper taped together or the back of strong wrapping paper. Freezer paper costs more but is very strong and water proof. Newspapers often sell machine end rolls for about $5 each. You will have enough paper for months, perhaps years. Stretching out a long paper adds uniqueness to drawing during a soothing quiet time.
An important part of any activity is discussing what to do first. Children learn vocabulary mostly from these quiet discussions with adults. What are children interests at the moment? Are they excited about Lego or Play Mobile figures of dolls, super heroes, Ninjago, Star Wars or Chima? These are all geometric figures of squares, rectangles and triangles. Take the figures apart, analyze and show children step by step how to draw their favorites. Accept and praise whatever they can do. Children may want to practice on another paper, cut out ones they like and paste on the mural. This practice often avoids tears of frustration. There doesn’t need to be a planned scene, just legions of figures all over the paper are fine. Later if they want to replace a drawing, just paste over it.
Other mural themes include: flowers, cars, trucks, birds, sports logos, favorite foods from grocery ads, sea animals or a scene made with geometric shapes cut out of colored paper and glued on the mural. Children may add real natural items and cotton balls for snow.
If children have difficulty drawing something, search for free coloring pages in Google images they can color, cut out, and glue to their mural. Very young children may want to scribble on their portion to make circular storms. Murals can be a time line of children’s development.
Esther Macalady is a former teacher, who lives in Golden, and participates in the Grandparents Teach Too writing group.
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