I may get a little emotional in this book rave. Fingerprints do that to me. My son’s preschool teacher, Miss Pat, sent home the most adorable fingerprint art – a change from the oft used handprint. These tiny black fingerprints are among my most treasured preschool keepsakes. I look carefully at the delicate lines, curves and swirls that are unique to only one: my baby boy.
I get busy with details of life and forget to focus. Forget to hone in on what distinctly matters. I’m trying very hard to slow down and consider the messages I want to relay to my children. At the top of my list of values is self-worth. I want my daughter to love and care for herself. I want my son to believe that what he thinks, says and does matters. But how to teach it?
We parents are teachers, whether we know it or not — want to be or don’t. Our every move is an act of teaching, and our children hang onto our every word. Having a background in teaching proves very useful, like when I organize activities I do with my kids in lesson plan format, for instance! But you don’t need structure to bond with your child; a tiny fingerprint will do just fine.
JULIA’S FINGERPRINT LESSON (ages 4+)
Length: This activity can occupy 15 minutes of time or 2+ hours! Take direction from your child and allow them to explore for as long as they’re interested.
- white paper
- black ink pad (a good one, so you can visibly see the fingerprint patterns)
- black markers
- magnifying glass
- Ed Emberley’s Great Thumbprint Drawing Book (or a few fingerprint drawings you created from this post’s pictures… or straight from your imagination!)
Preparation: 1 sheet of paper and marker in front of every child, book or drawings out for reference and ink pad and magnifying glass in the center to share
1) To learn about fingerprints and how no two are alike
2) To learn the definition of unique, and how we are all one-of-a-kind
3) To discuss what it means to have self-worth and why that is important
Introduction – Familiarize yourselves with the book/drawings by asking questions.
Discussion: Look at these silly fingerprints drawings! Which ones are your favorites? Why? What do you notice about the fingerprints in these books? How are they alike? How are they different?
Making Fingerprints – Time to make some predictions and put finger to ink and paper!
Discussion: Are you ready to make your own fingerprints? Do you think yours will all be the same, or do you think they will be different? Do you think mine will be different from yours? Let’s find out!
Fingerprint Detectives – Let your child make discoveries about his or her individuality.
Discussion: Let’s be like detectives and look closely at our fingerprints. Grab your magnifying glass! What do you see? What do the lines, patterns and shapes remind you of? Are your fingerprints the same, or unique? What does unique mean?
A Lesson on Self-Worth – What have we learned and why does it matter?
Discussion: We’ve learned that no two fingerprints are exactly the same. Each fingerprint is unique, or special. Other than your fingerprint, what other ways are you special? What makes you unlike anyone else? There is no one else in the world exactly like you. How does that make you feel? What would the world be like if everyone was the same?
Fingerprint Drawings – Enjoy quality time making silly fingerprint drawings with your children. Discuss as you draw, laugh at the funny expressions and compliment the distinctive quality of each creation.
Display Their Individuality – Be sure to show off your child’s handiwork. Clothespin their drawings to a string, pin one to a board, frame a favorite, mail another to a relative or friend, use every magnet and cover the entire fridge… Reiterate the lesson of self-worth and prove to them that what they think, say and do matters!
Try searching for memorable ways to intentionally start conversations about important topics with your children. Books are great lead-ins. Ed Emberley’s Great Thumbprint Drawing Book helped me to begin a dialogue about self-love with my children. I hope you and your children find reward in your own unique fingerprint experience!
Please share your ideas about how YOU teach self-worth in the comments below!