Dot to dot puzzles, a classic activity many of us remember from our own childhood, is still a favorite of teachers and parents hoping to encourage kids to work on their counting and small motor skills. And, of course, the kids love them, too.
The development of fine motor skills is important for academic success, and working dot-to-dots puzzles gives children a chance to practice gripping a pencil correctly and understand how numbers work in sequence. Besides being a fun process, dot to dots offer a reward in the form a completed picture that can be colored in and displayed.
Dot to dots may be worked in pencil, with crayon or even pen. But when working dot to dots, as in life, mistakes can happen, so using a pencil with an eraser can avoid frustration, especially with the littlest kids, or junior perfectionists.
After first introducing children to dot to dots, you may want to offer a little supervision. Encourage kids to seek out the next number in the sequence. It's best to draw a straight, even line from one dot to the other, and don't forget to connect that final dot or the image won't be complete! At the same time, don't insist that everything be “just so. " Kids need to be able to experiment and be creative, even if it means coloring outside the lines.
Dot to dots have many variations, and some are worked using letter sequences alphabetically rather than numbers while some spell words. The skill level needed ranges from preschool-age on up. Sometimes, it's immediately obvious what the picture is, while other designs will keep you guessing almost until the final line is drawn.
Highly portable, dot to dots, like coloring pages, are great for travel. They'll keep kids busy and guessing for a fair amount of time. Be sure to provide a good pencil and plenty of crayons.
Dot to dots are such a proven favorite that there are now versions available for adults as well as online dot-to-dot activities. The Internet makes it especially handy to instantly download and print dot-to-dot puzzles, often for free.
Whether you're just looking for a fun activity or you're looking for ways to build fine motor skills (where the small muscle movements work in coordination with the eyes), it's easy to “connect the dots" and see why dot to dot puzzles and activities are a great choice for home or school.
Copyright 2008 by Kevin Savetz.
Kevin Savetz is creator of http://www.DotToDots.net a site with more than 125 children's dot-to-dot puzzles and activities to download and print for free. Another of his web sites offers thousands of free printable coloring pages .