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As a child, my books were my most prized possessions. I was one of those kids who would prefer to absorb myself within a story, rather than one who wanted to bounce off the walls. I could even literally stay up all night secretly reading in my bed, instead of sleeping. I was a child who easily associated reading and books with complete and utter joy.
Don't get me wrong, I loved running, swimming, jumping (and sleeping) as much as the next kid, but I had a passion for reading. That isn't as easy to come by in a word where books are now in direct competition with a cell phone, iPad, laptop, video game screen and television screen.
Many young children, as well as some adults, are multi-sensory, kinesthetic or tactile learners, which means that their body must be in motion while absorbing new material. What if we could bridge the gap between reading and activities?
That's where activity books come into play. They are perfect for the kids who are kinesthetic/tactile learners and allow all kiddos to skill-build in various ways.
Whether the books consist of stickers, puzzles, mazes, cutting, crafting or finger-painting; activity books help people to develop their fine motor skills. Fine motor skills include bilateral coordination, strengthening muscles in the fingers and hand, as well as hand-eye coordination.
Fine motor skills are also crucial for most daily activities or tasks. The tasks include writing, eating with utensils, buttoning buttons, zippers, lacing shoes, catching balls, opening bottles, and just about everything else.
What child or parent isn't filled with joy at reaching each milestone? These are all necessary steps towards independence.
Another way to associate books with joy is to use an activity book as a reinforcer during play time. This truly is an ideal way to begin to shift the conversations from "I don't want to read" to "Let's read the instructions or follow along in this book, so we can create this fun craft."
When an activity book is introduced along with toys, the child is more likely to view it as a fun activity, especially when it is received as a special gift. Since kinesthetic learners do best when equipped with the proper tools, wouldn't it make sense to include some fidgets during their reading time to help with self-regulation and focus?
Shifting how we introduce books to young children can create a different way of viewing books and reading altogether. It may help a child stop viewing books or reading as a dreaded activity restraining all movement.
If presented well, there could be an excitement introduced around reading and books, as movement does not need to be restrained while reading, therefore books are no longer looked upon as limiting to the body.
Books can be viewed as a time to be free inside one's creative thoughts. That shift in how books are viewed by the child can be taken well into adulthood.
Until next time,
For more with Activity Books, please view our Box of Sensory Book Club.