Adventures in babysitting…

22 12 2007

Looking after my 4 year-old nephew tonight while the great blizzard of Christmas 2007 happens all around us, and I had this great learning experience that I wanted to share with you.

Dylan is a bright kid; he’s really sharp.  At 4, he’s reading and writing pretty well (ambidextrously, I might add – sort of weird to watch a kid wield a pencil with both hands equally well), and his curiosity is inspiring. 

Well, tonight, like many nights, we started with the plastic and magnetic letters, and spelled out lots of words (a few nonsense words just for fun…let me know if you know what ‘BGJPBDMBUT’ means).  Then things got interesting.  He decided that he wanted to start writing and dragged out some copy paper and some colored pencils. 

I had another idea.  I went into my office and grabbed the Levenger Graphiti Grip pencil that recently found its way to my doorstep, and said, “Dylan, gimme that colored pencil…try this!”

And away we went!  It’s now been about 25 minutes and save for dropping it once (this is a fairly hefty pencil), it hasn’t left his hand…and his penmanship has noticeably improved!  Neat stuff!  Here’s a couple of pictures, just for fun. 




You know…this kid’s handwriting is better than mine some days!

I know that some of you may have some munchkins about Dylan’s age, or nieces and nephews about that age.  I know it’s nothing new to many of you, but if you’ve got access to some of these big-diameter pencils, you might consider throwing one in the stocking.  I know that those of you on the other side of the pond can get the Lamy School pens and pencils which are really great, and there’s a handful of other companies that are making similar products over here.  I wish more teachers picked up on this and used bigger pencils with their young kids. 

(No, I’m not suggesting that you drop $46 on a big ol’ pencil for your munchkins…but this DOES prove, to me at least, a theory.  Little hands need big pencils.  It helps penmanship.)

These pencils are pretty hefty, but they’re really nicely made, and the cherry insert really feels nice in the hand; my guess is that over time, it’ll probably develop a very nice patina.

By the way, have any of your kids learned the “Backwards ABC’s” song?  The one that ends up, “Now I’ve said my ZXY’s…bet that’s not what you expected!”  This is hilarious! 

(And not only that…neither Kara nor I can actually get all the way through ’em!)




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