Observe and describe

Activity Type Setting Cost Time
No Cost


Summary: Learning to observe and describe is a parenting skill as well as a skill we want to develop in our children. (Source: smarterparenting.com)


Activity:  As parents, we want to observe behaviors, both positive and negative, and describe them in a non-judgmental way, either to reinforce the behavior or correct it. We also want our children to be able to observe behaviors, as well as objects, people, and nature in the world around them. This activity from smartparenting.com helps develop all of these skills, in parents as well as children.


Describe an object to your family and have them draw it trying to get as close to the original picture as possible. You might want to use pictures you can find here. Because they don’t know what they are drawing, the tricky part becomes in making sure you’re giving descriptive enough descriptions.


Here’s what you need to remember about this activity. First, be specific. Instead of saying, “draw a red circle,” say, “draw a red circle that is about the size of a nickel. Fill in the red circle completely.”


Second, break the instructions into small pieces. Break down complex steps and don’t try to give all the instructions at once. “Now, I need you to draw another red circle around the circle leaving about a finger width’s space between that circle you are drawing and the circle you’ve already drawn.”


Third, it’s probably not going to go as smoothly as you expect. Don’t sweat it. There’s a good chance that the finished drawings will not look like what you describe. That’s ok. This exercise is to help you get in the habit of observing and describing behavior and will show you the where you need to improve when it comes to describing behavior.

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