Today we are talking about using a classic craft material...dot markers! These are fantastic for small children or kiddos who have fine motor delays and find it difficult to grasp thin markers. But make no mistake, children of all ages can enjoy arts and crafts with these tools. For extra fun, or a sensory component, purchase a scented set! We just recently got the ice cream scented Do-A-Dots and love them! We also purchased a dinosaur themed dot book to use with the markers. However, you certainly do not need a coloring book to target the language skills we will be discussing.
As we’ve done before, we’ll be breaking up the post into two separate sections: Ideas for kiddos with emerging language skills, and ideas for those working on expanding language and vocabulary. Scroll to the section that best applies to your kiddo.
(This is for kiddos not speaking or communicating using 1-2 word utterances.)
Core Vocabulary: want, more, like, no, put, on, help
Describing words: (These will depend on the colors or scents of the markers you purchase.) Some of ours were: big, small, pink, blue, purple, sweet, delicious, messy, neat, clean, big, small
Nouns: marker, paper, hands (Do not forget to label the item(s) depicted in the picture you create or color.)
While using the markers to make pictures, comment on the actions of your child or on the actual drawing. Combine the target words above to form 1-3 word utterances. These are easier to imitate than longer, complex sentences. Here are some examples:
As always, provide tons of positive reinforcement for any communication attempts!
(This is for kiddos using sentences, but they need help building vocabulary or producing narratives.)
1. Pattern Practice: Create color patterns with the dot markers and ask your child to complete the pattern. This is actually an important skill for a variety of academic tasks. As you practice, you can increase the complexity of the patterns you provide.
Target vocabulary in sentences:
I want you to complete the pattern. That means to finish it by adding more dots.
Can you predict what dots should come next?
This pattern has more colors. It is more complex.
2. Art Vocabulary: Take the opportunity to teach your kiddo about pointillism. You can explain that this is a form of art where a large picture is formed by many tiny dots. Search for some pictures on the internet to provide examples. Then try to make some pictures in a similar style using the dot markers.
Target vocabulary in sentences:
Artists use different mediums. That means they have different ways of creating art.
Pointillism is a style of art made with tiny dots.
3. Practice telling a narrative. In general, a great way to build story telling skills is to expose your kiddo to narratives frequently. Besides reading stories, you can explain what you are doing on a daily basis. Remember to model the use of sequential words (i.e. first, next, then, last). During this task, it can be done with any picture you draw. Here’s our example for the picture below:
I’m going to make a face. First, I’ll use the pink marker to create a mouth and a nose. Then, I’ll use a green marker to form the eyes. Next, I’ll use the purple marker to add some hair framing the face.