The importance of drawing

Find out why drawing is an important part of children's development, the stages of art development, colouring books, talking about art and more.

Find out why drawing is an important part of children's development, the stages of art development, colouring books, talking about art and more.

Why is drawing important for children’s development?

Children draw to express what they are feeling and thinking. Drawing is an especially important outlet for children who do not yet have the verbal skills to communicate their feelings.

When a child draws something familiar to them, for example, a cat, they have the opportunity to think about what they know and how they feel towards this animal. They use their memory to recall what they know about cats, in turn extending their concentration skills.

Drawing also helps to develop manipulative skills that will assist children to write.

Stages of art development

Each child’s art is unique and follows a universal pattern of development.

All children go through the same stages, but the age at which this happens varies.

The first stage is “experimenting” where young children learn how to make marks on paper. The objective here is to see what they can do through practice and repetition.

When children gain greater control of their pens you are likely to see circular patterns and the work taking less of the page. As children are able to consistently create circles and lines, you may see circles with lines radiating from them.

The next stage is where these circles and lines start to become objects like people, as children are able to represent what they are thinking about. With continued practice finer details start to appear such as people having fingers and eyebrows.

Colouring Books

Some research has indicated that colouring books may restrict some children’s creativeness and their independence of expression. 

Some children may use the drawings in these books as a model of what an object should look like. If a horse looks a certain way in the colouring book, children may believe that their horse should look the same. They may also feel a sense of not being able to achieve what is expected as they cannot colour within the lines provided.

This could restrict their ability to draw with feeling and emotion and to represent objects as they see them rather than how the lines portray them.

Art is about discovery, using imagination, experimenting and trying out new methods and expressions.

You know your child best, their temperament and capability, so you will know if colouring books are a useful tool or not.

Avoid drawing for your children

Like the idea of using colouring books, drawing for your child may limit their creative ability as your works dictate what objects such as a house, sun, and tree should look like. A child that is confident with their own work will rarely ask you to draw for them.

Talking to children about their art 

Around the age of 3 ½ children may start to have a plan for what they are drawing. However, as adults we often don’t know what our children’s intentions are.

It is a good idea to talk about what your child is drawing. A general statement like “Can you tell me about your picture” is a good conversation starter allowing your child to tell their story.

Displaying your child’s art works on the fridge or making a frame for special work shows them that what they have done is important.

What drawing experiences can you provide?

Children need a variety of items to draw with and draw on. These could be pens, chalk, crayons, paint and brushes. Items like paper, cardboard, boxes, concrete, or even the fence, are good places to draw on.

Start drawing experiences as soon as your child shows interest; usually from around eight months.

Try using paper that has no lines so children are not confined when they first experiment with making marks on paper.

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Source: This article has been written by Creators, a nationwide service offering quality home-based care and education. Creators are passionate about seeing every child’s unique talent being recognized and nurtured.

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