Don't you just hate it when a simple activity sheet or coloring page actually does more than just entertain your toddler or preschooler? Of course not. Take dot-connecting pictures, for example. You can buy follow-the-dot activity books, print sheets from the Internet, or make your own. If you can't find activity sheets that feature race cars for your future NASCAR champ, you can use white correction fluid to cover up some of the lines in the picture. Then, just draw your own dots and whatever else you want to include for the best learning activity for his age. The benefits of dot-connecting pictures include following directions, using small motor skills to hold crayons or pencils, and reasoning skills. Your Earnhardt fan will also learn to recognize numbers and letters in order, and also learn different shapes, depending on the type of learning symbol sheets you use.
1. Simply Dots
Make your own easy dot-connecting activity pages with no letters or numbers, simply dots. Trace an easy coloring book picture, drawing big dots for some of the outline of the picture. This way, any toddler or preschooler can complete a picture and be proud of her work. Pictures with only dots allow her to begin where she wants and finish the picture with several different connecting lines. As she gains practice at drawing a line from one dot to another, she will most likely reason out that she could start at one point and draw a longer line to finish her picture.
2. Different Shapes
Shapes work well in finish-the-picture activities. Some worksheets or coloring and activity books may have just one shape in place of dots, like stars. A more advanced worksheet will have two different shapes, so your little learner will realize that he can create two different figures by following the different shapes. You can create these shaped dot-connecting pictures in the same way as creating dot pages in Section 1.
Numbers in place of or beside the dots in a connecting picture will challenge a beginner to start at number one and follow the dots until the numbers end and the picture is complete. Use books that increase in difficulty to keep the activities challenging and make her more and more proud of her accomplishments in finishing the pictures. Usborne Publishing has many themed books to choose from for this age range, as do School Zone and Carson-Dellosa books.
Follow-the-letter activities are similar to the number ones, except they use the alphabet. Again, beginning with fewer letters or dots to connect will help beginners get the hang of the activity, with a bonus of increasing their knowledge of the letters. Sterling Publishing and School Zone have a wide choice of dot-connecting activity books.
5. Create My Own Picture
Blank dots game sheets allow your child to use his imagination as he connects the dots to create his own picture. The dot game is a page of evenly-spaced dots intended for the game players to connect two dots at a time and try to make a square to claim as his own. These grids will give him the practice of connecting dots two-by-two and reasoning out how he wants the picture to look.
6. Online Activities
Open up a new realm of "pencil activities" by logging on to a web site that is designed for children to use the mouse's cursor and connect dots or symbols of some sort. Funbrain and Sprout Online are two sites that offer online dot activities. Not only will she love completing the pictures, she'll also learn how to operate the computer and mouse. Eye-hand coordination is another benefit of online games and drawing.