How drawing develops in a toddler

There are very definite developmental stages in drawing. Every child is different, however when it comes to their art there is a very clear developmental line that can be seen.

Keep samples of your child’s artwork at the different stages. Often at our workshops the scribbles done by toddlers are left behind and not seen to have any value. Before your child can draw anything you will recognise that he has to be exposed to different items to draw and paint with.

Experience is key to development. Did you know that one of the recognised “tests” that they ask a pre-schooler to do, is to draw a stick figure?

Scribbling is typical of a 1.5 year old. This is not about the result but about the process and enjoyment. The more they scribble,  the more fun they have and the more they learn to control the medium they are using. This scribbling is more a kinaesthetic activity.  You will notice that after 6 months of scribbling the marks start to become more orderly. Scribbling helps develop hand eye coordination, fine and gross muscle development and hand manipulation.

Drawing circular shapes is typical of a 2 – 3 year old. They will spend many a happy time making circles. Once circles have started emerging you will find the very typical stick figure drawing of a 3+ year old. The big head, legs and arms that come from there. As they develop more of a body image starts to appear, the body, the legs etc. At this stage they start to think about what they are actually drawing and are learning to problem solve.

Enjoy these first drawings of your child’s and appreciate them for what they are – just stages in your child’s development. Remember that drawing plays a very important role in your child’s emotional, cognitive and physical development. With drawing he will learn to express his emotions and build up his self-esteem. Provide your child with a variety of mediums to draw with. Don’t tell him what to draw, rather let him explore and experiment and do it on his own. Praise his work and hang it up in your home – this will encourage him to create even more beautiful works of art for you.

Toptots Early Learning SA

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