In an attempt to draw our little Masterchef away from the kitchen for a few minutes (excuse the pun!)… I decided to cover our little coffee/play table* with recycled paper and newspaper during his arvo nap one day. I taped the edges down with masking tape, and left a box of chunky, easy to grip crayons out… as if to say gently, “wink, wink, nudge, nudge, … try me!… if you feel like it!”
When he awoke and marched out to the living room I waited quietly and discretely to see if he’d start drawing away with passion and serious intent… I think I counted almost half a minute.
In all honesty, I did not expect a long attention span devoted to this activity. I have however, enjoyed seeing that the novelty of throwing the crayons to the floor and consequently being asked to collect them all again seems to have worn off, making way for a new way of playing with them. The crayons and paper stay put, and although the pots, pans, toy fruit pieces, puzzles and other toy bits of interest continue to be brought out to the table and played with, every so often, when he’s in the mood, he’ll choose a colour or two, (and a hand – since, age appropriately, hand dominance is not yet established), and test it out a little – just a few seconds here and there. The table has become a living, breathing, developing work of art and I love it!
For anyone interested in pencil grasp development, there is a nice summary by an OT on this link OT Mom Learning Activities – Pencil Grasp Development
* Yes, that’s right – we don’t have a coffee table and a separate play table. In a teeny little apartment such as ours, it’s essential to do a fair bit of ‘doubling up’ or ‘furniture multi-tasking’!