Charm Chameleon Chatterbox

Backup Blog

When Children Draw by Sandra Crosser, Ph.D.

Notes : To those moms (even dads) who take seriously on what your child has been drawing, thumbs up! To those yet to do this, never too late to take your child’s drawing seriously. Start expose them to the world full of colours by giving them non-toxic child-size crayon. Keep a record by writing on the date & what age for every single of your child’s masterpieces even just a scribbling. Store it neatly & arrange it accordingly. Within time, you can always go back and observe how much your child has been progressing. Nevertheless, read on this summarised article to grasp what I have been emphasising about as well some understanding on milestones specifically from drawing itself.


Examining children’s drawing may give us important insights into how drawing fits into the overall physical, emotional & cognitive development of the young child. From toddlerhood through primary school, children choose to draw. What role does drawing play in the young child’ development?


Around 18 months, toddlers become interested in scribbling. It seems to provide sensory enjoyment, but the child is also interested in the marks that are made of. Small muscle coordination and control improve with practice, cognitive abilities are exercised, opportunities for social interaction arise, and the physical movements provide emotional release.

Toddler’s small muscle control is not fully developed, & may approach the drawing task by grasping the crayon with his or her fist, creating a bit of difficulty placing the crayon exactly where the toddler wants it. Movements are typically large, involving the entire are with little finger or wrist control. This is because the pattern of physical development proceed from the center of the trunk outward. With practice, the toddler will naturally improve the control of wrist and finger movements, A rhythmic, repetitive, scrubbing motion is common among two-year olds, providing sensory enjoyment & making drawing a very physical act.

Intellectually, toddlers are concerned with both the process & results of their art. They do not intend to represent objects at first. Instead, they are concerned with colour & line. However, they may look at the marks & scribbles they have made &, in surprise, recognize a shape & name it. Toddler interpret, rather than intend. According to Piaget & Inhelder (1963), a child is mentally able to use symbols to represent reality by 18 months. Dots, for example, may be rain falling.

The opportunity to make decisions contributes to the emerging sense of autonomy which is important for a two-year-olds emotional development. Not only do children make decisions about line, colour & placement, they also exercise their sense of autonomy by using & gaining control over drawing tools to engage in an activity valued by the culture. A toddler who saves the scribble done is demonstrating his or her use of drawing for social interaction as well as emotional support.


Between the ages of two & three the child begins to form what Kellogg(1970) has termed shapes. The scribble forms a cross, an X, an enclosurers resembling primitive circles, squares, triangles & oblongs. An important point is reached when the child converts the linear scribble into an enclosed shape. The enclosed shape seems to be the focus of the child’s first attempt to make a realistic drawing.

Three & four year-olds develop other generic symbols for the repeated drawings of common objects like sun, cat & house. According to Piaget & Inhelder (1963), preschoolers draw what they know about the world, rather than attempting to capture a photographic mirror of reality. While approaching realism drawings remain fanciful throughout the preschool years with imagination leading colour, composition & content. It is a place where we can see the front, profile, and bird’s-eye view at all the same time. It is a place where trees & people can be the same size, where grass looks lovely in purple & rainbows form without a drop of rain.

Culture & Children’s Drawing

Culture plays a large role in whether or not drawing will enter into a child’s repertoire of behaviour. For example, Taiwanese & Chines American parents tend to plan more drawing time for their children than do European American parents. As a result of more time spent drawing, Taiwanese & Chinese American children’s drawings have been deemed more advanced than those of their counterparts (Berk,1994)

According to cultural studies by Alland(1983), when children are provided with drawing materials & encouragement they tend to compose works that reflect the particular culture. French children tend to spend time on drawing, filling the entire page with large, colourful designs & drawings by Japanese children tend to be more complex, harmonious & complete than drawings by North American children.

Promoting drawing

Parents can promote drawing as a way to improve physical, social, emotional & cognitive development. Some suggestions follow:

1. Provide children with non-toxic drawing materials & loads of paper starting toddlerhood.

2.Model drawing.Show children that you like to draw & make designs but do not model WHAT children should draw.

3. Encourage drawing efforts by talking about the beautiful colours, pointy lines & thin shapes the child has made.

4. Rather than asking the child,:What is it?”, invite the child to tell you about the drawing

5. Forego the temptation to provide coloring book. Instead provide a variety of shapes, colours, texture of papers & a variety of drawing tools for your child to create his or her own drawing.

6.Talk about concepts like thick, thin, wide, narrow, dark, light, edge, shape, contour, open curve, closed curve, straight, crooked & illustrator.

7. Display high-quality drawings at the child’s eye level.

8.Give children the freedom to choose the subjects & colours of their drawings.

9.Play beautiful music to accompany drawing. Talk about how the tempo of music changes the drawings.

10. Rather than drawing for the child, ask helpful questions & make suggestions. Encourage children’s efforts & voice confidence in their ability to solve the drawing problems,

Finally, the next time you see your child scribbling with marker or splattering paint onto drawing block, stop, admire & praise his or her work. Whi knows, your words of encouragement may inspire a future artist.

May 15, 2009 - Posted by | Child's Play, Early Childhood Education, Just Preschooler, Just Toddler, Parenting in General, Worth-read Articles

1 Comment »

  1. Love this one…my 3 yr old dotter has been quite a lot these days!Thanks for sharing Hanz!

    Comment by AlohaMolly | October 27, 2009 | Reply

Leave a Reply to AlohaMolly Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: