Inspiring creativity – celebrating Dot Day

  • Published on September 8, 2017

Inspiring creativity – celebrating Dot Day

Next Friday 15 September is International Dot Day, a day for celebrating and promoting creativity, courage and collaboration.

Celebration of the day was initiated in 2009 with teacher Terry Shay introducing his class to the picture book The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds.

The Dot

The story is of Vashti and a teacher who encouraged her to make a mark and have a go. Lacking self-belief and courage, Vashti was reluctant to participate in art class. When the teacher framed and hung her signed painting of a tiny dot, Vashti was determined to do better. She painted all kinds of dots that wowed the people at the school art fair. What happened when one little boy admitted to Vashti that he wished he could draw will inspire children everywhere to be brave, have a go, and be creative.

For a wealth of celebratory suggestions, visit the International Dot Day Get Started page and sign up to download a free Educator’s Handbook, which includes a lovely certificate of participation that can be printed and personalised for each child.

I have included a link to the page in the new resource Getting creative with dots in which I suggest additional ideas to add to the celebration.

getting creative with dots

The suggestions, of which examples are shown below, can be used in conjunction with International Dot Day, or any day when you feel like going a little dotty.

Go dotty with a Dot Day party

Dress up in dots

Make dotty decorations

Share dotty party food

dot day food

Brainstorm dotty words

Compile a list of other dotty words; such as, spots and polka dots.

Mathematical explorations

Explore circles

Make patterns

Play games with dice and dominoes

Explore number with Ladybird Spots

Ladybird spots cover

Explore or brainstorm where dots are found in the environment

Take photos of the dots and make a caption book with one photo to a page; for example:

dot book pages

Get artistic

Dot designs

Make pictures using only dots: try paint, felt tip markers or stickers; make big dots, little dots and many different coloured dots.

Dotty creatures

Make unique dotty pictures starting with a fingerprint.

collection of dotty creatures

Explore lines

At the end of The Dot, Vashti encourages a boy to make his mark by drawing a line. This is a great opportunity to introduce an exploration of line and to draw all sorts of lines with a variety of media.

Be inspired by the masters

Watch videos of artists at work

(for example)

Mo Willems

Look in his books at how Mo Willems has used lines in creating his characters. Encourage children to have a go at drawing them too.

Helen Magisson

Watch as Helene creates one of the beautiful watercolour images for the book of poems Magic Fish Dreaming by June Perkins.


Kim Michelle toft

In this time lapse video, Kim demonstrates painting on silk the cover illustration for her most recent publication Coral Sea Dreaming.

Carol Schwartz

In this video, Carol talks about the importance of research and observation when illustrating with accuracy for non-fiction books about nature.


Read stories about famous artists

These books with stories about famous artists such as Dali, Picasso, Matisse, Monet, and Renoir are just a few from my personal collection.  School and local librarians will be able to assist with other titles.

Invite an illustrator to your classroom

Many artists and illustrators are delighted with the opportunity of sharing their work with children.  Check out who may be available in your location. There are probably more than you think.

Check out the readilearn Illustrator Spotlights

Read the books to the children and discuss techniques used in illustrating them.

Chrissy preview

Gregg Dreise

Note the use of dots in Gregg’s illustrations.

Muza Ulasowski

Register now to begin using free resources, or Subscribe for access to all resources.

The most important thing of all is to encourage children to have a go and to have fun imagining and creating. As teachers, we can learn a lot from Vashti’s teacher about acceptance, encouragement, and a growth mindset.

I hope you are as excited about International Dot Day as I am. How will you celebrate?

I appreciate your feedback and comments. Please share your thoughts in the “Leave a reply” box below.

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    This whole post is wonderful. Everything is so fun and entertaining. I didn’t know there was a day dedicated to The Dot and you’ve got some amazing links and videos here. I really like your fingerprint art. 🙂 (I LOVE Mo Willems!)

    Oh, I’m so pleased you enjoyed the post, Sarah. I had great fun writing it. The Dot is a wonderful book. I wish I’d known about it sooner. I’m pleased you like the unique fingerprint art; and I share your love of Mo Willems! 🙂

    I must admit that I could go a bit dotty over this day, Charli. The Dot is a wonderful story, and to celebrate creativity, courage and collaboration in this way, is a great way to celebrate a book as well.

    Thank you, Robbie. Knowing that I have inspired a new story in your Sir Chocolate Books series makes me very happy. My post was worthwhile. I can’t wait to read your story.

    Thank you, Janice. I’m pleased you enjoyed reading the post as much as I enjoyed writing it. Dot Day is such fun!

Please share your thoughts. I love it when you do.

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