Drawing on a blank piece of paper is a powerful way for children's imagination and creativity to go as far as they can.
Education Advisor at Affinity Education Group, Jola Sung, shared some insight into the benefits of drawing.
“Children are effective communicators; through the creative arts, children learn to make meaning and freely express their thoughts, ideas and feelings. Drawing also acts as a powerful way for caregivers to understand how a child feels, " said Jola.
“Support a love for drawing by using positive reinforcement when your child creates artwork, celebrate their creativity, ask them questions about what they have drawn and display it somewhere appropriate. Build a sense of pride and self-confidence in your child and allow them to explore their creativity”
Drawing also helps children develop fine motor skills as they learn to control their finger grip and movement to the ideas they are expressing.
Jola’s top tips to encourage drawing:
- Provide drawing papers and paper that they can regularly access
- Show that you enjoy drawing too, but avoid telling children what they should draw
- Demonstrate interest by commenting on the lines, shapes and colours the child has used, and ask them what they are doing to draw next to encourage your child to add more details and imagination to their artwork.
- Display artwork and drawings at the child’s eye level so that they can appreciate and see their work.
- Avoid comparing children’s artwork or commenting they have drawn something wrong.
How Does Drawing Benefit Toddlers?
Toddlers become interested in scribbling from around 12-18 months, as the action provides sensory enjoyment, independent play and physical movement. Scribbling supports muscle and hand-eye coordination, as well as an emotional release. Movements are generally large, and the child is often more interested in the marks they create rather than drawing objects.
Encourage your toddler by providing praise, asking about their drawing and, where possible, actively being part of the drawing activity – creating shapes together and building social interaction. Avoid trying to make their artwork into an object or pattern; allow it to be a beautiful page of scribbles!
How Does Drawing Benefit Older Children?
As hand-eye coordination develops and fine motor skills improve, scribbles will develop into more controlled attempts to draw objects. Many children at this stage will start to name their drawings and include zig-zag marks, crosses and circles. This is a great time to introduce different colours, providing another opportunity to make autonomous decisions. Experiment with different tools for drawing – including crayons, pencils, thick markers, paint brushes and chalk.