Summer ideas and thoughts for mom

By Carrie,
Reading to Know
Corvallis, Oregon

I’ve been seeing a lot of posts pop up recently about what moms are planning to do with their kids during the summer. Annette has a post up about children’s reading programs, Stephanie offered a list of 1oo Free (or almost free) Summer Fun Activities and Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers offered a list of things to do when the kids are becoming bored.As for me and my house – summer is probably our busiest time of the year! It’s wedding season and Jonathan and I don our wedding photographers hat. In between the weekends, we look for ways to keep life cool, calm and relaxed.

Gearing up for pre-school next year, I’d really like to spend this summer preparing Bookworm for the fine art of coloring. (See? A simple activity. But one that we don’t actually do very often.)

I have a child who doesn’t really like to draw anything that doesn’t have eight tentacles. Oh wait! That’s not true. He’ll also draw jellyfish and anchors and if you’ve ever received a card or mail from him, you know this to be true. His artwork involves sea themed creatures!

I’ve been trying to think of ways to get him to see beyond the “swirlies” of the octopus tentacle (as he refers to them) and so I was rather excited to see the following two drawing books which are both published by Seven Footer Press:

We started our journey into the “unknown” with Squiggles! I figured this would be a good way to ease away from the “swirlies” and create loops that looked like other animals and things. Normally, Bookworm1 will have little or nothing to do with coloring or drawing books, but this one is different. This one provides colorful pictures for the children to add their own squiggles to. (Hence the name. Brilliant, hmm?) For example, upon opening the book you find a page spread of white sheep on a green field. Add squiggles to the white of the sheep, and you’ve just given them fluffy wool! Squiggles can bring ordinary pictures to life. With a few loop-de-loops you can add icing to cake, a beard to a face, and – yes, it’s true! – waves to an ocean scene that even features our beloved friend, the octopus. (My heart sunk and Bookworm1’s began to soar when he saw that!)

Slowly but surely he began to see that squiggles can make so much more than just an octopus tentacle. I’m trying to broaden his horizons and I honestly think that Squiggles! is helping. I’ve begun making my own marks on paper on our Magna Doodle and asking Bookworm1 the imaginative question: “What do YOU see here?” (Swim away from the octopus, son! Swim away and see what the rest of the world has to offer!)

Holes! is a coloring book like none other that you have ever seen! Each page spread offers a scene which contains some holes in it. You color in the holes, turn the page, and discover a whole new scene which you have already created. Even Jonathan was super impressed by this coloring book! Want to know if Bookworm1 was? Well, behold the text on one particular page spread:

“A girl octopus and a girl octopus squirt ink into the hole.
Color the hole with lots of circles and curly patterns.”

You then color in the hole, turn the page (away from the octopus) and you discover that what you’ve actually created is a squiggly mouth and beard on a man’s face.

I really do like these books because, as I said, Bookworm1 is not naturally artistic. It takes a lot of convincing and coaxing to get him to pick up a pen or some colors. He just isn’t interested. However, these books gave him a launching pad to work off of and he genuinely seemed to get into the swing of things. Anything that helps him see pictures in the world around him is going to get a thumbs up from me so here you go:

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