In this busy lifestyle modern life is pressing on us, we often rush through things. The other day, I was reminded of this by my eldest daughter who, as she opened our mega-sized coloured pencils box, beckoned my company. So, a bit reluctantly to be quite honest with you, I grabbed my own colouring in and went and sat with her at our dinner table. We spent the most agreeable half hour of quiet time, discussing as we coloured away.
At this precise moment, I realised that even colouring in is an opportunity to expose my child to more minority language (ml), but also to foster the need to use it by having a conversation. Whilst colouring in her world map, my daughter asked questions about it, or the animals featuring on it. She also described what she was doing and commented why. As for me, I had not-so-innocently chosen a fancy design of Big Ben -the London landmark- to colour in. My choice generated questions from my daughter which in turn fostered a discussion.
It was the first time I stepped back from my stressed-out mum attitude and realised:
- I actually enjoyed this side-by-side colouring in session.
- How much valuable linguistic import it created.
We had had colouring in sessions in the past, but I usually let her at it on her own, or never took the trouble to chat so much, to describe. I had never taken so much retrospect on this activity’s value language-wise.
The quick take-away from this experience is to “Take the time” and participate in our children’s play, whatever it is; even in the less sophisticated activities such as colouring in! The more time spent, the more exchanges, the more ml exposure. It took me 6 years to realise this…try to avoid wasting as many ml opportunities as I did and when your child calls you to colour in, hit your coloured pencils fast! 😉