Let me introduce you to George Schalter from Educational Kid Games. George loves being a dad. He and his wife share the joys and responsibilities of bringing up their two children. As believers of good all around education, they spend a lot of time playing with their children and spending time outdoors. As George is the writer in the family, he is the one that blogs at Educational Kid Games.
George has been very patiently waiting for me to post a story he had submitted a very long time ago called “The Summer of Dragons.” It has not been the best of times for any new submissions other than the ones that were already scheduled. Now that I’ve recovered somewhat from the surgery, and my hand is better, I’ve had a bit of time and now have a chance to post his story.
First I am an Art Minor in Early Childhood Education so George’s story is something I can relate to. I was able to use art in ways that helped children with difficulties to better understand and comprehend the stories they were reading. It made learning to read for them so much more fun. So with that I will let George take it from here with his “Summer of Dragons”.
The Summer of Dragons
My wife’s mother came over to spend a few days with us in the summer. When she got her ‘welcome’ gift, a dragon mobile, she was surprised at seeing all the dragons.
Let me explain the dragons. The kids had looked forward to watching the movie “How to Train Your Dragon 2“ as soon as the movie was announced. The trailers had been watched; part one was watched again to refresh the story. There were lots of discussions about Toothless the dragon and Hiccup’s father’s fiery Viking beard. The summer of dragons ensued from there.
Once the movie was out, we watched the movie. Then, we:
- bought dragon eggs
- played the dragon game
- dressed up as Vikings
- fought fake sword fights
- attended a dragon-themed birthday party
- told each other taller and taller dragon tales
We even tried making dragon shaped pancakes (I suggest you never try that), and gave Grandma her dragon mobile!
Grandma and the kids had a busy few days — they started a small vegetable patch and planted some flower bulbs, went to the park, went cycling and even went to some museums. All of which made their way into the kids’ artwork. Recently, we were looking through the artwork our kids had done over that summer. They like art and are very prolific, so we had doodles, mobiles, crayon work, paint work, funny looking portraits, cards and even picture crosswords. Some of the artwork had dragons on park swings and dragons in the middle of tomato plants. The predominant theme was dragons, dragons, and more dragons. It was truly a summer of dragons.
View From Atop a Tall Tree
There was just one piece of artwork we could not figure out — a giant tree with a dragon perched on top with a boy on its back. Where was this coming from? Perhaps it was just his imagination.
When we asked the kids the following day about this picture, our younger one went quiet for a moment but then explained that his friend had lost his dog and had been hit hard by this. At some point, we had shown our kids a fantastic image of a redwood from an old National Geographic magazine and had spoken of the view from someplace so high. Recalling that, he had drawn his picture. He was sure flying to the top of a redwood would give him the view he needed to help find his friend’s lost dog. Who better to fly on than a dragon?!
Art helps in the development of social skills and cognitive abilities in children. My art teacher in our school was unforgettable. Much before integration of art was emphasized; she used art to supplement our learning of language and math. When I was drawing symmetric leaves and flowers, I had no clue I was learning Math. I did not become an artist, but I learned to appreciate what art could do.
Clearly all that happens around them contributes to the artwork of children. Their loves, hates, and fears are all depicted in their art. It takes a pair of empathetic eyes to read a child’s artwork. The visual arts definitely help in reducing stress and anxiety in the modern world. In fact, these images clearly show how much an art program can help even the seriously ill. Some cope with having lived difficult childhoods by leaning on art for survival.
Picasso once said – “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.” How true.
Thanks for your fun story George. It brought back some very good memories for me.
Life’s journey continues…
P.S.; Check out the cool books below.