This month is Autism Awareness Month. Autism is not something we can see from the outside looking in and currently, there are far more questions than answers. The brain and how it works is mysterious and amazing. That raises another question: What are some ways to encourage brain development in all children? Here are some encore posts on young children, kindergarten readiness, and multiple intelligence.
The young child who drew this amazing, colorful picture struggled with kindergarten readiness in the self-reliance area because she was so anxious. But isn’t this drawing astonishing? There is no doubt that some children have more advanced drawing skills than others; I still don’t draw this well. But picture smart isn’t just drawing.
Visual/spatial intelligence involves more than colors, lines and paper. It also includes noticing colors and shapes, enjoying looking at pictures, “seeing” images in the mind, remembering how something looks, and knowing that the sofa will not fit in the corner before moving it! How is your visual and spatial area? Look at these ways you can help increase your child’s picture-smart IQ:
- Look at picture books together. Talk about the pictures. Check out the details such as color, shapes, textures, etc.
- Have some paper, paints, colors, chalk and other resources for your child. If necessary cover the whole kitchen floor with newspaper and dress your child in very washable or no clothes in case they need a bath, clothes and all.
- Make a craft box with all kinds of goodies for putting together. Sticky contact paper is wonderful for attaching stuff, but tongues won’t freeze to it.
- Playdough gives some 3-d visual stimulation. So do blocks and other construction materials.
- Go on a shape or color walk around the neighborhood to see what you two can see.
These are only a few of the ways of exploring and encouraging visual and spatial intelligence. One year, a small boy came to kindergarten with a map of the drive to school. He had maps of the way to the store, the road to the library, how to get to granny’s house and more. Just this week I read that JB, now in grade 9, was a National Geography Challenge winner. His second-place means he is in the running to be a World Championship finalist next year. I wasn’t surprised at all and I remembered how he clung to his father’s hand, hip and leg before a field trip. He was ready for kindergarten in some ways and was learning to cope in others. Every child has unique strengths and challenges. How will you help your child become picture-smarter? Is this a challenge or strength for you, too?
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