As parents, it’s simply incredible to watch our children grow and develop right before our eyes. The pace at which they do so differs from child to child, but they all follow a universal pattern of development which consists of various milestones along the way.
Children use drawing as a way to express what they’re thinking and feeling, and this is particularly the case for our little ones who can’t yet speak. So, what are some ways that drawing can assist children’s development?
Past, Present and Future
In order for a child to draw a picture (whether it’s one we can make sense of, or not!) the child recalls their past and present experiences, as well as uses their imagination in a creative way. To create a drawing the child simultaneously uses his or her memory, experience, concentration, imagination and observation. Now, as we likely already know, the more we practice something, (usually!) the better we get. So by encouraging our children to draw, they’ll be using these elements on a more frequent basis.
Social and emotional development
Drawing promotes independence of expression because a child can draw something to look however they like. For example, a drawing of a cat may appear completely different from one child to another. Unrestricted drawing (i.e. that not confined to within the lines of a coloring book for example) encourages children to draw with feeling and emotion, and therefore encourages development of social and emotional skills. Drawing’s about discovery, imagination and experimentation as well as trying out new methods and expressions.
A picture tells a thousand words
No two pictures are ever the same, and this is a way to encourage children to talk about interpretation. A teacher may speak about an object and a student can agree understanding, but if drawing that object the teacher and student will draw two different pictures. In this way, drawing assists development of communication and as a child learns about differing perspectives through drawing, there’ll be much to discuss – watch out!
Drawing also assists development in children when it comes to team work, sharing, and taking responsibility for cleaning up. This is the case in art classes at school where children work in groups for example. Toddlers learn the names of colors and shapes by using them in their drawings and they also learn what happens when they mix colors together.
So, what can you do to encourage your child to draw and subsequently develop? By asking one simple question: ‘Can you tell me about this drawing’, you’re inspiring an open-ended answer and encouraging your child to express their own views, thoughts and emotions. And once you’ve encouraged your little one to elaborate on their thoughts and feelings, quite often, there’s no going back!