Developed by:Small Planet Digital
I love stories that encourage children to see the power that they hold within. The lovable hero of this story, Bing-Wen, uses his imagination and cleverness to outwit a greedy emperor. This is one tale that my son loves to read again and again.
Prepare to use the app by introducing one of these activities:
Good Ol’ Harold
Harold and the Purple Crayon is a classic story of a boy, a magic crayon, and a grand
imagination. Read the story to your child or watch the animated version, focusing on
the connection between the images and Harold’s adventure. After reading, ask your
child questions such as, “What words could you use to describe Harold?”; “How did
Harold solve the problem of the __________?”; “If you had a magic crayon or
paintbrush, what would you draw?”
Cause and effect refers to the connection between an action and its outcome. From a literacy standpoint, understanding cause and effect helps readers predict and anticipate events. There are numerous examples of cause and effect in Dragon Brush. Talk to your child about cause and effect and encourage him/her to identify the cause of an event and its effect in the story. Some people find it easier to identify the effect first and then go back to determine its cause. Your child may notice that when Bing-Wen helps a oman (cause), she gives him a magic paintbrush (effect). Or perhaps your child may point out that when the emperor asks Bing-Wen to paint a golden statue of him (cause), Bing-Wen refuses and is banished to the dungeon (effect).
Help your child get the most out of an app experience by trying the following activities:
Did you know that meaningful interactivity motivates readers and helps them become invested in the story’s narrative, thus increasing comprehension? It’s true! The interactivity within this app allows children to become part of the story; for instance, users are actually able to “fill in” Bing-Wen’s drawings to bring them to life with animation and sound. You may also encourage your child to interact with the story by finding paint pots hidden throughout the story.
If your child wishes to create his/her own masterpiece after reading the story, head on over to the Dragon Paint screen. There, your child will have an interactive pallet full of colors and patterns to work his/her magic. Want more? The developers of this app offer a free Dragon Brush coloring book that could be downloaded here.
Is That a Folktale?
Dragon Brush is based on an old Chinese folktale that has been passed down from one generation to the next. Folktales usually center upon a young hero/heroine and teach readers a lesson. As you read Dragon Brush, have your child identify elements that make it a folktale. For instance, your child may notice that the story takes place a long time ago, which is an element of a folktale (The first page states, “Quite a long time ago, in a small village in ancient China, there lived a boy named Bing-Wen.”). At the end of the story, ask your child to pinpoint a lesson that could be learned (i.e. It is better to be giving than selfish; Problems could be solved with hard work and determination).
Extend the app experience with a real life activity:
Jammin’ with The National
Two members of the indie rock band The National created the music in this app. Formed in 1999, the band has gained national attention for its lyrical songwriting and melodic rhythms. Talk to your child about the music heard in Dragon Brush and the mood it creates. What do you feel when you hear the music? How does the sound relate to the words? How important is the music to the story? You may be interested in listening to more of The National’s songs here.
Stapler, Paper, Scissors, Lantern
Lanterns are a common decoration in China, often displayed during festivals. These lanterns are typically brightly colored and made of a variety of materials including paper, bamboo, and silk. Make your own Chinese paper lantern following these simple steps from Kidspot. All you need is a stapler, construction or wrapping paper, and scissors.
Discover more about Chinese culture from one of these kid-friendly sites:
- Venture to National Geographic to explore the Terra-Cotta Warriors and Horses of China, something your child will surely find fascinating.
- Learn some basic Mandarin phrases with help from Time for Kids.
- Travel China Guide has tons of videos on China, including the Chengdu Panda Breeding and Research Center and the Great Wall.