As one would expect, each of my three kids has a unique set of talents and interests. It is always fascinating, though, when they combine those talents to create something together.
My son is a storyteller. He was a born talker and loves to delve into the world of imagination. I think this is why he has always had such a strong love of books. The older of my two daughters seems to be happiest when she has a set of markers in front of her and a huge stack of paper to make her way through. She wants to create and I have an ever-growing collection of artwork to prove it. (At the moment, the youngest demonstrates her greatest skill as being a great audience for everyone else — happy, full of joy, and amused by life in general.) On occasion, the first two put their heads together and try to write and illustrate stories together. Synergy is a beautiful thing.
One of the things I like most about “Dog Loves Drawing,” Louise Yates’ 2012 book, is the creativity it can inspire. In this picture book, a book-loving dog receives a special gift from his aunt — a blank sketchbook. He decides to take out his art supplies and see where his imagination takes him. He begins by creating a stick figure friend who in turn helps him create a whole cast of friends. He travels through the book with them, each of them adding to the story by drawing their own details and carrying the story along. It reminds me a bit of the storytelling game where each person adds to a story and you need to react to what someone else has introduced. Dog and his friends do just this, until one of the friends makes a surprising addition to their adventures.
This book is recommended for ages 4-8. While younger children will certainly also enjoy the story, I think preschool and early elementary-age kids will be able to take the idea and run with it.
Activity idea: After reading the book, give your child paper and a pencil. Ask him/her to draw a character. Ask the child how the character likes to travel — car, boat, plane, train, etc. See if he/she will draw it for you. Then ask where the character is going. Help him/her draw the setting. Continue adding details — other friends, what they eat, games they will play. This could be a one page project or you could create a whole book. Don’t hesitate to draw WITH your child. My son and I once made a story like this where one of the characters was a boy. We then printed out photos of my son and we put his face on the boy in the story.