Out and down, out and down; in, around, around, around, to build a Double Doodle snowman!

Out and down, out and down; in, around, around, around, to build a Double Doodle snowman!

I love to Double Doodle* with both children and adults, and delight in guiding people to discover their own creative expression. An art project is a wonderful way to learn about exploring choices, and about turning “mistakes” into pleasing serendipities (something we can’t learn too much about!). And the Double Doodle process supports skills of eye-teaming, eye-hand coordination, directionality, and fluid mark-making, while providing a lot of fun!

For a Double Doodle Christmas tree shape, move hands "down and out, then down and in, now do it again, and again, and again!"

For a Double Doodle Christmas tree shape, move hands “down and out, then down and in, now do it again, and again, and again!”

I find that many holiday images are easy to draw using the Double Doodle process, and don’t take long to make. Here are three that I enjoyed creating with my grandchildren. Most children ages 8 and up can quickly learn to do the first two. They’ll have the most fun if you do it with them and keep it playful, turning any “mistakes” into “oopsies,” or feeling free to experiment with a few versions till you get the flow.

To make the snowman, fold your paper vertically, then tape the paper down. With a marker in each hand, and with both hands beginning equidistance from the fold mark, use a single downward in-and-out-stroke to fluidly draw the outline of the hat and snowman.** (If you are new to the Double Doodle, you’ll find a more simple image and additional instructions here.) Use whatever marker colors attract you. For the snowman, I used two different colors of blue to show off the Double Doodle effect. Now, with additional colors, make the eyes and mouth, buttons, and stick-arms. Color in the hat and scarf using either one or two hands. Complete with a broom or shovel, and a background, as you wish.

A simple pine tree shape is easily double-doodled. Above left is a photo of the tree drawing after the first leisurely in-and-out motions, and again below, after adding some circles, curlicues, and icicle squiggles for ornaments.

Decorate your Double Doodle Christmas tree. Still using two hands, place some of your ornaments asymmetrically if you like.

Decorate your Double Doodle Christmas tree. Still using two hands, place some of your ornaments asymmetrically if you like.

Finally, here’s a little more complex drawing of an elf, fun for older children. Again, begin with a simple outline. Then color over and fill in as you like. Build from symmetry to asymmetry. I colored in the vest, leggings, and all by turning the page as needed, then placing my markers side-by-side as I colored.

A Double Doodle Christmas Elf that could be used on a card or as a window decoration.

Whatever you choose to Double Doodle, watch how a few minutes of doing the process relaxes hands, eyes, and mind, calming children and adults alike, and how even the most similar beginnings of a project can evoke unique choices. I enjoy seeing children of any age shift into a lovely acceptance and even delight of images with singular expression and character.

Wishing you cheerful decorating and celebrations!

*The Double Doodle is one of 26 Brain Gym® activities from Brain Gym®: Teacher’s Edition by Dennison and Dennison, ©2010. The introductory course Double Doodle Play: A Window to Whole-Brain Vision offers a full day of exploration built on mirror-image mark-making and painting. For the name of a Brain Gym instructor, see the Foundation website, below. For a Double Doodle Play instructor, click on the link and look up 105DD under courses.

**In terms of laterality, the directions “in and out” (toward the midline and away) take precedence over “left and right.” When learners struggle with academics, returning to an “in and out” orientation, perhaps through the use of the Double Doodle or other Brain Gym activities, is often all that’s needed for them to reconnect with more effective movement patterns. For those familiar with internal rotation of the forearm and how that can inhibit printing and cursive writing abilities, notice how after a few minutes of doing this two-handed motion, the wrists and fingers often relax into a more natural and aligned (naturally extended) position.

Related Research:
Keinath, Kristen. (2005). The effects of Brain Gym activities on second-grade students’ academic performance and handwriting skills. “Conclusion: Brain Gym activities were shown to positively effect handwriting skills. These findings support the research of Drabben-Thiemann and Donczik. Findings also suggest that there is no significant difference in academic performance following Brain Gym activities. Further research on the effects of Brain Gym activities in the school environment is recommended.”
Chang, Shao-Hsia & Chen, et al. (2015). Biomechanical analyses of prolonged handwriting in subjects with and without perceived discomfort. Human Movement Science. 43. 10.1016/j.humov.2015.06.008  A quick stroke speed and consistent, stable wrist extension were two of the elements found to correlate with less pain and greater efficiency in handwriting performance.

© 2015 by Gail Dennison. All rights reserved.

You might also like:
Double Doodle Hearts and Flowers for Mother’s Day

Children’s Double Doodle Halloween Drawings – Fun and Surprising! (with a video)

Halloween Magic with Two-Handed Play!
Make Double Doodle Pumpkin Faces for Halloween Fun

Why I Love Teaching Double Doodle Play: A Window to Whole Brain Vision

Double Doodle Play Brings Emotional Harmony Following a Stroke

Creating Beauty with Two Hands

© 2015 Gail Dennison. All rights reserved.

Brain Gym® is a trademark of Brain Gym® International/the Educational Kinesiology Foundation. Click here for the name of an instructor near you.

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