Need a fun way to engage the youngsters? This series will increase a child’s powers of recognition and observation. It will help them translate what they see into a simple drawing of it. Every journal in the series has a theme with a prompt on each of the 100 pages stating specific things to look for. This goal is reinforced by asking them to then sketch what they have seen on that page. At first, stay with the order in the book, but later make it random. Before starting out, they should familiarize themselves in advance with what the prompts are so they can be on the look-out and ready when they see one. Tell them that they will have to work fast and since we cannot stop the world for them to sketch it, they will often be required to take a mental picture of how a thing looked. By doing this exercise they will strengthen visual memory. Once home they can flesh out the item they have drawn in pencil or marker and embellish it by adding color with marking pens.
Load up and set out in the car for a 15-minute drive around the neighborhood. Ask the participants to search for an item and when they see it to make a quick drawing of it. Use your head as the driver. Be prepared to make frequent stops, always in safe places, out of traffic to allow for the children to catch up.
At the end of the week ask them to use that week's finished pages to write a short story based on the prompts they have drawn. Later, they can work in pairs or groups and collaborate on a story. Have and official meeting each week to go over what they saw, sketched, and wrote. Set a place and time and provide snacks. Have each person read his or her story out loud, discuss what they wrote and show the drawings that were used to create it. Repeat for as many days as there is interest or until the prompts are gone. Then, move on to another book and theme.