4 year olds and coloring - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 21 Old 10-04-2007, 12:29 AM - Thread Starter
 
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my 4 year old Sage does not know how to hold a crayon the right way. i never thought it was a big deal until last year when i put him in a preschool they kept correcting him about the right way to hold it. i then started correcting him the right way and he started to feel bad about it. i could tell he was frustrated and has since decided he does not like to color anymore. Does a kid really need to know the correct way to color.
i tell myself he may be the next Van Gogh teaching ME a new way to color. so why pressure him into society's correct way to color?
And how do i get him to develop a passion for coloring again? his sis who is 17 months behind him colors better then he does ( meaning she pays more attention to detail and can stay in the lines better) but i don't compare them or tell him that. he will be 5 in feb. she turned 3 in june.
I am also thinking it might be a sign of a learning disability or something but really have no clue how to tell.
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#2 of 21 Old 10-04-2007, 12:48 AM
 
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I'm in the same boat you are. My two are 5 and 3 1/2. 19 months apart. DD can color better, is more into the details and can write her name and even in between the little lines. Ds (5) could care less. He writes his letters to take up the whole page and one letter on top of the other, mainly still scribbles when he colors etc. I don't know if its an LD or if its a maturity issue or a fine motor skills issue. He basically refuses to hold the pencil the "right" way. I am anxious to hear what others have to say.
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#3 of 21 Old 10-04-2007, 12:55 AM
 
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don't feel bad, my ds never went to preschool, but instinctively knows that holding the crayon the right way is difficult for him. he is not into coloring, and I think this is why.

instead, he exercises his fine motor skills by practicing with the scissors, and gluing, painting, etc. I do not force the issue.

that's my suggestion...do not force the issue. give him other materials to use to create art.
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#4 of 21 Old 10-04-2007, 03:50 AM
 
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Neither of my kids like to color and never have. They do like to draw maps and make signs but to color preprinted material? Never.

I'm not understanding why this might be construed as a having a learning disability? (two of you posted that you were worried about this)
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#5 of 21 Old 10-04-2007, 09:29 AM
 
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For me its not necessarily the coloring but drawing aspect. Although my 3 1/2 yr old dd can already draw a person (stick figure) that is recognizable, my 5 yr old ds is still scribbling for his "person". Definetly not recognizable. Heck, he admits he's just scribbling and when you try to get him to draw something he won't. I think he "can't". I don't think he sees the patterns, perhaps?

I think I may take him to get his eyes checked soon. He does still have strabismus and a astigmatism and it may just be getting in his way although you can't really tell in other areas of life.

Sorry Swallace. I didn't mean to high-jack your thread here.
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#6 of 21 Old 10-04-2007, 04:28 PM
 
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I have never tried correcting my son's grasp of the crayon, only the pencil for writing, and that is just because he has more control for writing if he holds it the right way.

I wouldn't worry too much about the coloring. My daughter is almost 2 1/2 yrs older than her brother and he can already write about as neat as her and she has been writing since she was 3. His personality is just the type where he pays more attention to the details than she does. She just wants to get things done and he wants things to be just right.

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#7 of 21 Old 10-04-2007, 08:57 PM
 
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I noticed when my DD was about 2.5-3 that she suddenly got highly agitated when coloring. I really couldn't figure it out . Until one day I read something about coloring books & how they can limit creativity & also produce stress b/c the child is trying to stay within the lines but it is very difficult at such a young age. So I got rid of all our coloring books & only gave her plain paper. Since that time she has enjoyed coloring SO much more. No lines=No constraints.

I have never even thought to change her grip on a crayon b/c I think of coloring as her creative time to do & create whatever she'd like. It sounds like your son has lost that spontaneous fun of coloring b/c he's concerned about holding the crayon correctly. Why not just leave him be?

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#8 of 21 Old 10-04-2007, 09:02 PM
 
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Mine is 3 and is a left hand right hand switcher. She will color for hours and just switch back and forth from hand to hand. I am not sure if I am suppose to correct her or just let her do her own thing so I just let her do it. She also eats and plays with both hands back and forth. Hopefully she will make up her mind which hand she likes best before school starts. lol
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#9 of 21 Old 10-04-2007, 10:20 PM
 
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I would try other art... how about wet on wet painting??? Basically, soak a piece of watercolor paper in water for about 10 minutes... then give your kids some watercolors...and let them go loose. The wet factor makes it all kind of dreamy and pretty.

I would not compare him at all to his younger sister. Girls develop the fine motor skills necessary for pencil/crayon control way earlier than boys. He probably does self-comparison anyways... and it bugs him.

Mom to DS(8), DS(6), DD(4), and DS(1).  "Kids do as well as they can."

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#10 of 21 Old 10-04-2007, 10:28 PM
 
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As far as drawing stick figures and such, what do his scribbles look like? There are some pre-cursers to writing that involve drawing but they can be developed in other ways. Use lots of easel painting with big brushes, little brushes, other random art materials and huge sheets of paper.

PLaydough is also very good. As is drawing in sand, finger painting and other mediums.

I have a really nice list of pre-writing activities that you can do to help build strength, I can post it if anyone likes.

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#11 of 21 Old 10-04-2007, 11:00 PM
 
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I don't think you should worry about a learning disability- perhaps a lack of fine motor coordination, but nothing to overly stress about. I recently got dd some "antiroll" crayons that are helping her improve her grip on her own, they also make ones with a triangular grip that might help. It is good to develop a proper grip before you start working on handwriting, but with homeschooling, you can delay that and just let him paint, draw and color at his own pace.

One thing that sometimes gets overlooked when people start worrying about fine motor control, is making sure the bigger muscles of the shoulders and arms are developed, a child needs good arm control and strength to have good finger control. So do things like monkey bars, wheelbarrow walking and other things to stregthen his arms.

Laura, Mama to Mya 7/02, Ian 6/07 and Anna 8/09
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#12 of 21 Old 10-04-2007, 11:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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thanks for the replies. i thought this is stuff he is suppose to be doing b/c his teacher always told him the right way of drawing. i really need to just back off and would love to try the wet on wet painting.
we are homeschooling now to take all pressure off him.
I did throw out all coloring books because it does inhibit( is that the right word) his imagination.
He loves to paint and has a lot of fun painting and has no problems.
i did not mean to say learning disability but was meaning more of a fine motor skill problem.
he is really teaching me a lot about homeschooling and unschooling and i love it all. He is my wise SAGE!
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#13 of 21 Old 10-04-2007, 11:41 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brendon View Post
I have a really nice list of pre-writing activities that you can do to help build strength, I can post it if anyone likes.
Oh, please post these.

Mom to DS(8), DS(6), DD(4), and DS(1).  "Kids do as well as they can."

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#14 of 21 Old 10-05-2007, 08:33 AM
 
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I don't think there is a right way to hold a crayon at all. We use the block beeswax crayons that young children can grip. I say just relax and don't go by anyone else's ideas on what is "right" for a child.
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#15 of 21 Old 10-06-2007, 12:25 AM
 
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FWIW, I never held a pen or pencil right. I remember in K they gave me some little rubber thing to grip but I just pushed it up by my eraser and did my own thing. Oddly enough, I have the neatest handwriting. My teachers always used me as an example for handwriting assignments.

Also wanted to share an activity to supposedly build the fine motor skills to "write correctly" that I learned from a friend whose son is "behind" in writing compared to other kids in his K class. She puts cotton balls on her son's train track and turns on a motorized train. He uses clothes pins to snatch up the cotton balls before the train gets to them. I suppose you could do some other version of this exercise if you want...it might be fun.

Susan~Mama to Atticus (2003), Creeley (2005), Townsyn (2007) and a fourth boy on the way in 2011!
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#16 of 21 Old 10-06-2007, 09:42 AM
 
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my son is 3 and 7 months. He loves to color, but he only scribbles all over his paper. He also used to hold the crayon so tight that they often would break in half. a couple of months ago a friend of mine made an indirect comment about his coloring (sort of insinuating he should be doing "more" than scribbles at his age) - so i posted here to see if her comment had any validity (you know how people make comments, and then you start thinking--hmmmm, should i care about that????). anyway - everyone eased my mind that he's 3 and how he colors is totally his ownership and not mine. i agree, so i pass on that same advice to you

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#17 of 21 Old 10-06-2007, 01:26 PM
 
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duplicate post
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#18 of 21 Old 10-06-2007, 01:27 PM
 
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My son never cared for coloring at all - which may have had to do with comparing what he could do with the amazing things he saw little girls doing in Waldorf kindergarten. He was able to hold a crayon just fine, but couldn't do anything but scribble or make crude shapes at 5 or 6. A frog might have been a circular sort form with four lines sticking out from it. I got him every kind of crayon set imaginable when he was growing up - really for me , I suppose - but he was never interested. And yet, when he got into community college classes in his teens, he took a full load of art classes one semester just to explore artmaking, and did beautiful things, including drawings and paintings - I mean even his teachers liked them, not just his mom . And yet, it's still not a great interest of his - which has never made a bit of difference in his life.

On the other hand, art is everything to me - it drives my life - I even have a bumper sticker on my wall that says "Art Saves Lives" - but I feel very strongly that children should be left to figure out their own best way of handling materials until they reach an age when they want to know more about how other people handle them. It's fun to explore with different materials, and to learn tips of all kinds, pick up tricks on how to do this and that, etc. - but never at the expense of letting them feel wrong about what they're doing. We have enough craziness in our culture already through which people get the notion they're artistically hopeless. I could go on and on, but I'll make myself stop here. Lillian
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#19 of 21 Old 10-06-2007, 01:40 PM
 
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I will make a separate post as the lists are kinda long.

Dhjammin.gif, Me knit.gif, DD 10 REPlaySkateboard04HL.gif, DD 7 cat.gif, DD 4 joy.gif

We reading.gif, homeschool.gif, cold.gif, eat.gif, sleepytime.gif not in that order

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#20 of 21 Old 10-07-2007, 11:46 AM
 
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I haven't read all the replies, but here are my random thoughts on it.

One of my girls went through a phase where she was adamant about scribbling instead of coloring, I actually really enjoy coloring, even now, and if she "caught" me coloring she'd tell em to scribble, then take my hand and "make" me scribble. She still, if given a coloring page to color, scribbles on it for 30 seconds and is done (her twin sister generally takes a long time and colors mostly in the lines) but give her a stack of plain white paper and she'll draw whole "stories" that are relatively recognizable, she doesn't like the "confines" of coloring pages.

To encourage him to enjoy art without worrying about "holding the crayon right" what about getting him block crayons we have these, in addition to stick crayons and the girls draw and color with these and love them.

Ashlyn (the "scribbler" mentioned above) has always held her pen/crayon incorrectly, and generally with her hand much too high on the pen, Lexie (twin sister) seemed to instinctively figure out, if not "the" correct grip, at least one that gives her the pencil control she needs. I let it go with Ashlyn until recently when she was getting frustrated trying to draw/write something (the girls have both gotten into writing letters alot recently, but have never shown any interest/willingness to be taught HOW to write letters, so they're making them up as they go LOL) and I suggested that if she held her pen closer to the tip it would be easier, by waiting until "her way" was frustrating *her* I think she was much more open to suggestions of help, and really, as long as they're writing in a way that they are comfortable with, I don't care if it's the "right" way or not.

I'm left handed, I struggled w/ the stupid handwriting books and how they told me to hold my pencil/paper for YEARS before I gave up and played around with it & did what came naturally to me, now people think I'm insane because I turn my paper completely sideways to write, but it's comfortable to me, and my hand doesn't drag through the ink like it does if I do it the way the books say. So, while I think it's less of an issue for a right handed child (the left handed stuff in the books when I was a kid was insane, it was just reversing the right handed stuff, I'm SURE it was written/designed by a right handed person, GRRRRR) I still let my experience be a reminder to let kids do what comes naturally to them, who cares if they write just like everyone else, as long as they're comfortable with it.
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#21 of 21 Old 10-07-2007, 04:53 PM
 
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ds has never really been "into" coloring until recently, and honestly, i have no idea as to whether he holds crayons correctly or not... I didn't know there was a correct way.
But wow, he went from random scribbling to serious drawing in the space of about two weeks, by which I mean to say: like everything else, they'll get there in their own time. Just let it unfold.
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