Saturday, May 15, 2010

Quick, easy hand activity....

Q has been very into tracing hands lately. She loves her hand to be traced and also tries to trace ours. So I came up with this quick but meaningful activity. We traced the cat's paw, the dog's paw, Q's hand, Mommy's hand, and Daddy's hand. Then we taped them up on the window in order of size. I wrote everyone's initial on their respective "hand." It's a fun game for Q to point out everyone's hand. I haven't yet talked with her about the size comparisons. For now just letting her soak in the visuals of the hands and also relate each initial to that person's hand. Later on we will talk about the different size comparisons. Mommy's hand is bigger than Quinn's. Daddy's hand is bigger than Alie's, etc.

We can:
-find similarities
-find differences
-put our actual hands up against each tracing to see the size difference
-talk about the initials
-practice matching the correct hand to the tracing (left or right)

Other extensions--try tracing and comparing feet!
Use ribbon or yarn to measure around each person's head. Tape resulting lengths up and label. Who has the biggest head?

How about arm span?

This is such a relevant activity to young children because it brings measurement to their level--measuring objects they know SOOO well because they are part of their own body. This is one of the first ways children begin to develop concepts about size, measurement and seriation (comparison of sizes).

It is also a great literacy activity--labeling the hands begins to teach that letters represent something real--in this case a person.

Older children could actually write some sentences about their observations.

"Daddy's hand is the biggest."
"Alie has no fingers."

And incorporating art--draw in the features on the hands. Mommy's wedding ring, decorate the fingernails. Draw the little creases on the knuckles and also the veins. Teach childre to study the actual object and then try to decpict what they see on their paper. This is initially very difficult, but the best way to teach this is through modeling it. Just look at your own hand, note aloud what you see and describe how you will draw it as you work.

"Ohhh, I see some blue veins on my hand. I will get a blue crayon and draw them from my knuckles down to my wrist. I think I'll push so lightly, though, so you can just barely see them, because they are under my skin. I also need to draw my wedding ring that reminds me I am married to Daddy forever. I need a silver crayon. Uhh-ohhh, we don't have a silver crayon. A pencil is kinda silvery, I will use that. I'll draw two bands and then I need to draw a white circle for the diamond, on top of the band. Let's see, which finger do I put it on. My ring finger, and it's on my left hand."

Children will learn to take ownership of this strategy the more they see you model it for them.

And if they are interested, you can always use the hand-over-hand technique where you help their hand draw what they are wanting (while you verbalize out loud while you work). The only caution is to be sure you are not taking over and reducing your child's independence. With Q, I use hand-over-hand to help get her started, and then I do my own version of the project and if she wants me to do hers some more I tell her "Mommy's working on her project-you try to do it!"
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