Gather your craft supplies such as ribbon, doilies, stickers, tissue paper, glue, old Valentine cards, pipe cleaners, buttons, Bling gems, magic markers and finger paint. Or mix paint with glue and your child can begin sticking sensory materials on the sack before it dries. Have your child write: I Love You however they can. This is called Invented Spelling and it is wonderful that they have come this far with squiggly lines and circles. Don't fret if the letters are backwards or upside down. There is a high statistical probability that they are not dyslexic. Give them time and nurturing to develop fine motor skills.
If they are very young, you could trace the letters and help them trace over. Or put dots for them to connect starting at the top and working down. No matter what marks they put on the paper, praise them and be excited that they are realizing the reading/writing connection. You could sound out the letters very slowly helping them develop phonemic awareness. Whatever they do, keep it a fun experience.
They will enjoy the therapeutic process of creating their unique piece of art, especially if they use finger paint. Yes, it can be messy but plan this before a bath. I know it's tempting to straighten that Valentine card so it is readable without twisting your head, or the sack might look prettier with more ribbon, but remember this is their sack. Let them enjoy the process of making it and the ownership of their product. This process could take several days for a big sack.
- Trace around heart cookie cutters
- Cut out hearts
- Cut out traced hand or foot
- Cut small pieces of tissue paper. Five year olds may be able to twist the paper on a pencil eraser and glue giving 3D effect
- Peel backs off stickers and place on paper
- Glue small objects on sack
- Print I Love You and their name on sack.
OTHER USES FOR THEIR SPECIAL SACK
You and your child can fill up the sack with notes and drawings.
Begin with: I love you because... or... I love to (do this) with you. You may be surprised at your child's answer. I was humbled when my daughter's kindergarten teacher told me she loved to play dollhouse with me. No travel or money was needed. It was just one-on-one time of maneuvering and imagining Barbie's life perhaps with a tea party on the side.
Help your child make a book to keep in his special or treasure sack titled I Like Me or I Like Myself. Include their scribbles, drawings and photos. Write words under the drawings and photos showing your child that letters have meaning. Use their words. Read the notes and book on days when you wonder: Who's child is this? What was I thinking?
Play Blue's Clues or go on a Scavenger Hunt looking for objects that begin with a letter sound, or shape, or color. Run around looking for objects, getting exercise, and encourage them toss or drop objects into the sack.
Abundant research shows that children who are read to for hundreds, even thousands, of hours before entering kindergarten, do better in school. Why? They have a richer vocabulary. They have bonded with their parents through books. Time was spent with them developing a strong emotional base. They have a curiosity and love of learning because it was fun, interesting, and rewarding.
Do not try and force your child to memorize letters, sounds, and words if they show no interest. Let them see your love for books and share this enthusiasm with them. The highest achievers (regardless of IQ) have a healthy strong emotional core, were given abundant opportunities to explore, experiment, and discover - initiating their own learning while feeding their curiosity. They used good old fashion tools like building blocks, Legos, crayons, dolls, action figures, light-sabers,and library books, developing their imagination and problem-solving skills. Children don't learn with nearly as much enthusiasm using flashcards or screens. They learn with real objects that have meaning - or by hearing and expanding their vocabulary through having books shared with them - or questions answered for them.
Read the same book over and over if that is what they want. Repetition creates a sense of security. Encourage your child to re-tell the story which shows where their interests lie. Let them tell the story over and over giving them a sense of participation and control. They are trying to find stability and patterns in their expanding world. Snuggle, cuddle, read, rhyme, and repeat. You are amazing to your child.
Books to Build Self-Esteem:
- Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney
- I Like Me by Nancy L. Carlson
- I Like Myself by Karen Beaumont
- Love You Forever by Robert Munsch
- I Love You Always and Forever by Jonathan Emmett
- The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn (before child begins school but will help with any separation)
- Show Me How: Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem through Reading, Crafting and Cooking by Vivian Kirkfield
Would you like a glimpse into Kindergarten? See Kindergarten: Tattle-Tales,Tools, Tactics, Triumphs and Tasty Treats for Teachers and Parents. Do you need help raising a happy healthy preschooler? See The Happy Mommy Handbook: The Ultimate How-to Guide on Keeping Your Toddlers and Preschoolers Busy, Out of Trouble and Motivated to Learn. Both have been bestsellers on Amazon and make helpful gifts for parents and children. Ebooks are only $3.99. Also available on Barnes & Noble and Kobo.
Let Children Experience Childhood.