Activities and advice

Posted by: Mary Beth Frank

Activities and advice - 04/04/06 01:07 AM

Ok, so we are two days into spring break and I am itching for some activities for Marshall (he's 4 on April 9). Computer games tend to be too easy and he flies through puzzles. Hates, actually seems to loath, anything crafts oriented. He is very science oriented, but my knowledge and understanding is limited in this area. All ready, we are getting close to beyond what I know (he was talking about light refraction this week, and I quickly realized we are almost beyond my knowledge...guess we can learn together, huh?) We are going on a bug hunt today at a local park, and then we are going to fly our kites (or die trying).

Does anybody have any activities or ideas for summer? I realized this week that I am going to have to be really creative this summer, so he doesn't just end up watching TV all day, every day. I am a real estate agent, and summer is our crazy season, so it is going to be fun trying to balance it all out. I have talked to a friend who is a licensed elementary teacher about coming two mornings a week and doing some school with him, while I get away for work. Do you think this is too much? I plan on enrolling him in a couple of zoo/science camps for his age group.

One last thing....Marshall refuses to hold a pencil or crayon, and won't cut with scissors. Does anyone have any tricks of the trade that I can use? He claims that he is afraid he will do it wrong or mess up the picture. I've watched him draw his letters perfectly in the sand or something else, but you can't draw in the sand forever. Don't want to push it, but it is becoming somewhat of a hinderance. He also refuses to learn how to read...which, I think he already knows how. I catch him all the time, huddle in a corner "skimming" the pages of a book. I guess in due time, but I didn't know if anyone had any good ideas in teaching a perfectionist how to use a pencil!
Posted by: deeyana

Re: Activities and advice - 04/04/06 05:55 AM

The sooner you to get him to make the attempt, the more comfortable he will feel about drawing and writing in public. My son is in first grade and refuses to do any writing at school.However he is now comfortable enough to write at home.It took alot of time and patients.

The only thing that got my son to write was using his favorite subject as an incentive.In my son's case it is easier to write sentances,numbers and letters,than drawing.Its not that he cann't, he is too self critical when drawing.

-I would start with tracing.(he cann't make a mess when tracing)
-Have him mix colors together with a paintbrush.
(this may make him more comfortable with the idea of holding a pensil.
-Will he draw with chalk on your driveway?maybe not? But worth a try.

My perfectionist son has always like to practice things in private.It sounds like your son is doing this with reading.
Posted by: Mary Beth Frank

Re: Activities and advice - 04/04/06 07:40 AM

Now that it is getting warmer, here in Indiana, I'll have to try the sidewalk chalk. I'll also have to try and make some train things that he can write on and see if that helps. He is obsessed with trains, so that may get him to pay attention. It is just so hard for me to understand how a child so small could already be so self critical. But he has always hated coloring from birth, so I never pushed it. But now, it is becoming clear that the fundamentals in learning are harder for him to grasp than the complex notions. He told me today about electricity and how it runs through the wires (we saw an electrical line down this weekend and explained why it was dangerous). With one conversation, he had it down and then some. But with ABC's, writing, cutting, coloring....it becomes an outrageous, almost impossible, task to even get him to try it or show that he already knows it. On a positive note, our bug hunt was fun. Except, Marshall enjoyed walking ahead of me and humming to himself more than the practice of finding bugs. Wouldn't you just love to get inside their minds? Ah, well. Off to make dinner, again.
Posted by: KatieB

Re: Activities and advice - 04/21/06 01:30 PM

Your son sounds a lot like my 9 year old at that age. He hated coloring, and still does. His handwriting still stinks, although he knew his letters before 1 1/2. If your son's just turning 4, maybe just don't push with the writing? There are other ways to work with letters - like the jumpstart games where you click on the correct letter to complete the word etc..

If he's a builder, get him some K-nex and ignore the ages on the box. You'd be amazed at the fine motor skills these kids can accomplish when they want to build something cool that really works (sticks, gears, motors .. much more fun than pencils:-) K-nex are one of those toys they can play with from when they are 3 until they are 11+ and stop using the instructions to begin inventing their own working machines.
On a positive note... my son with the terrible handwriting, whose K teacher complained that he never bothered to draw the pictures or color in the lines (she wanted him to draw 9 frogs, he would write 9 in binary code instead just to confuse her, or because he was bored, who knows?) .... anyway, he's doing fine in middle school and going to high school next year. He won't be an artist, that's for sure, but he may be a scientist who does all his illustrations in powerpoint:-)

Another suggestion: part of the reason my son hated writing, coloring, cutting etc.. was because he saw no purpose for these skills. "Why cut out shapes when it's hard for me and I could be learning something?" (Yes, learning to use scissors has a purpose, but cutting out random things seemed stupid to him!) He was ambidextrous until he chose a hand on the first day of K, so that added to the problem, but he also had no desire to just sit and write random letters for no reason. (He knew his letters, just saw no point in proving he could write them!) Maybe work on those skills as part of something he is interested in - for ex: Tell him you guys could creat a scientific journal of his bug hunts and record the bugs you find and help him write a list so he can keep track of what he's found and draw a little picture of what it looked like for future reference. He could cut out real pictures of bugs he's found or would like to find to put in his notebook. Maybe if he saw the purpose (for him) of doing these things in the context of something he's interested in, he would be more willing to give it a try?
Posted by: Mary Beth Frank

Re: Activities and advice - 04/24/06 05:48 AM

That is a great idea. On the "Now What?" Section one mom, Mary, suggested giving him an Omega 3 supplement. Since we started doing this, we are getting works of art from school, using a pencil and doing things for the first time with interest and enjoyment. In fact, his teachers are so excited. I was told, for the first time, that Marshall did the best art project. I about cried. We are seeing so much improvement and growth from this simple remedy. He is still very smart, and would rather hunt for the bugs than draw them, but now it isn't impossible to get him to do it. But I agree with you. Gifted kids see cutting, drawing and typical preschool activities as senseless and boring. I get that comment quite a bit....I did nothing at school, it's stupid, etc. But he needs the social time and its something. Mary Beth
Posted by: Grinity

Re: Activities and advice - 04/25/06 01:20 AM

My DS9 also was poor at small motor and gross motor. 6 months of private Occupational Therapy helped a great deal, also with the oversensistivites, and he seemed much more "comfortable in his skin" afterwards. I don't think that my DS has anything "wrong" with him, just what I call, "big head, scrawney neck" syndrome. for example, how is a kid supposed to develop normally physically, and jump off stone walls when he's aware of the underlying bone system, and it's possible shortcommings. Once he got into that room with all the padding, he took off! Note - I am not one of those "physically" overprotective mothers, who scream "careful" when a child learns to walk or carry a dish. (I have plenty of other faults.) In support of my theory, DS9 learned to walk at age one, with little deviation from the norm, but already he was noticibly less likely to fall then other children, having studied the matter carefully before hand. Still I think that his mind was "babyish enough" not to hold him back at that time.

FWIW, I did occasionally let my DS9 sit in my lap at age 4 and tell me what to draw, not sure if it was a good thing or not. I also introduced him to MS Paint, and let him Zoom in and work Pixel by Pixel when he wanted to...again, not sure if it was a good thing.

He also loved computer games and would sit in my lap and play the "big kid" reader rabbit games for as long as I would let him. It did keep him occupied, and we borrowed them from the library. You might enjoy one called "Read, Write, Type" OTOH my SIL lives in a location that has lots of Gifted Kids and she believes that access to computer has is something she would do differently if she had it to do over again. By Middle School, the only boy who is "really into" learning was from a "no computer, no TV" house.

- gulp -
Trinity