Developing a growth mindset is a vital skill that will help our children to build resilience, improve their self-esteem and reduce helplessness. Knowing that they possess both knowledge and skills, understanding that mistakes are okay and believing that practice helps to take us a step closer to perfect, will support them in overcoming many of life’s challenges. A central theme in Peter H. Reynolds’ delightful picture book, ‘The Dot’, is encouraging self-belief. The follow-on activity below can be used to help your child improve their confidence (as demonstrated here) or, you could adapt it to help them learn specific skills – multiplication tables or spellings perhaps. Be as creative as you like – after all, as ‘The Dot’ highlights, there really is a creative spirit in us all.
You will Need:
- Post-it notes
- A Twister mat, coloured rubber circles (or just draw around a dinner plate on strips of blank paper)
- Write a statement prompt or a question on several post-it notes e.g. I can… I would like to improve… I am good at… How might you spell [draw a picture of a cat]? What might the solution to 6 x 5 be?
- Ask your child to choose a pathway to cross your twister mat/circles from one side to another. (Depending on the age of your child, you might want to jazz this up by suggesting that the floor is hot lava/quicksand/covered by poisonous jellyfish/etc. and only the circles are safe!)
- (A variation might be to lay out two pathways for them – one with easier questions, one with a slightly more challenging set – then ask your child which pathway they’d like to take.)
- Guide your child along their chosen pathway. They must respond to each prompt or question before moving on.
- Offer a reward at the end. In our video, this was actually Oscar’s suggestion and on reflection I think it was a really good one. Sometimes children (and adults!) can be shy or find it difficult to think and say aloud what they’re good at or what they’ve achieved. In doing so, they may be removed from their comfort zone, so offering a reward or prize at the end can make the experience much more motivating.
Ways to extend the learning
- Use coloured circles or questions written in coloured pens to differentiate between easier and harder questions, e.g. red = harder, yellow = easier. This might work well if you are playing with more than one child or with children of different ages.
- Encourage an older child to offer two ideas for each prompt instead of a younger child who may only be able to think of one. The prompts we used were: I can… I am good at… I would like to improve… I really enjoy… I felt proud when… I have learnt to…
- Draw pictures of words for children to spell…
- Or, write a prefix or suffix on each post-it note and ask your child to think of a word that uses it e.g. the prefix ‘dis’ – disagree/disappear/disappointing; the suffix ‘ful’ – beautiful/grateful/powerful, etc.
- Write calculations for your child to solve (multiplication tables perhaps)…
- Or, write a calculation and ask your child to think of another related calculation e.g. You write 2 x 5 = 10, they say 10 divided by 5 equals 2…
- Or, you write a number; your child must think of a way to make that number using +/-x.
A Sneaky Snapshot
Don’t forget, you can watch this activity in action on Youtube and IGTV. Please do subscribe or follow to stay updated with more play prompts based on your favourite children’s books.
If you’re active on social media, do please share a picture of you enjoying this activity with your child. Use the hashtag #picbookplay and tag @thefairytalemum if you’d like to be featured.