Fun and Learning at the Grocery Store. (cart image source: carriage-trade.com)
An outing to the grocery store with a preschool-aged child can cause many parents to cringe. Oh, the thought of it! Why not turn the outing into a fun educational experience for your young child? Children are typically on their best behavior when they have a job and feel a sense of responsibility.
Next time you’re planning a trip to the grocery store, pull out a package or two (or however many your young writer can focus on) of something you plan to put on your grocery list. Have your child write the item(s) on the grocery list by copying from the package or label, such as “milk,” “pasta,” or “applesauce.” To make it easier, you can circle or highlight the main word on the package–exactly what your child should write. If your child isn’t writing letters, yet, he can draw a picture of the needed item.
Once you get to the grocery store, allow your child to hold his list and search for the items he added as you go up and down the aisles. This fun “job” will help your child with writing letters and words, planning, and will give him a sense of accomplishment. Plus, it just might make your grocery trip more peaceful!
Scribbles done by a young child may seem to be senseless and unimportant, but they are so much more. The first mark your child makes on paper will likely be a scribble of some sort, and when your child enters preschool, he or she will likely create may “scribbly” masterpieces.
The act of scribbling, itself, helps build the muscles in the hand that make writing possible. As your child gains more and more control over the scribbling, fine motor skills develop.
You’ll notice your child pointing to their scribbles and declaring what they are, often in great detail. The scribble likely looks nothing like what she is describing, but her words will let you know what she intended–the picture she had in her head. The act of describing the scribble helps build imagination and encourages thoughtful drawing. As her skills develop, the objects she intended will become more recognizable. As real shapes start to appear in your child’s drawings, your preschooler will build confidence and become excited about drawing and writing things that can be recognized by others, all the while, refining fine motor skills.
It is important to help your child learn to hold their writing instrument properly so that he can develop muscle memory for proper writing and drawing right from the start. Small children will likely first grip the writing instrument in a fist-like position. An early transition to the proper position is important for developing writing skills.
At Square Roots Preschool, we practice proper pencil holding. Our younger children create lots of scribbles. We ask them what they draw, and they give us lengthy explanations. We help them label their drawings so everyone can enjoy what they intended. We also work on tracing our names each day. In addition to the parent sign-in book, we have a child sign-in book. The youngest students start out scribbling on the sheet. Then the markings become more localized, and then the name appears! It’s a progression, all stemming from those first scribbles.