Mark Art Part of Your Child’s Daily Routine

Incorporate art-making into your child’s playtime at home.

Tape down paper for them to draw on and spill on, and make a smock out of old clothes.

Taping paper on a table can help a small child focus on the motion of drawing, without having to hold down and adjust the drawing paper.

Children will begin their drawing by scribbling.

Around 2 years of age, the scribbles will become more controlled and repetitive, and children may begin to grip crayons and markers between their thumb and pointer finger for more control.

  1. Offer a variety of art materials at this age. (Thick crayons, thin crayons, pencil crayons, stencils etc.)

  2. Don’t focus only on drawing with tools: children can draw by tracing pictures in sand, or shaping clay or play dough. Buy washable paints, nontoxic clay, chalk, child-safe scissors, and many kinds of paper, and store in an easy to access spot.

  3. Don’t teach.Children develop basic motor skills with every scribble. They also develop creativity, invention, and self-expression.

  4. Talk with them about their art, but do not attempt to teach.

  5. Avoid the impulse to correct.

  6. Small children may paint purple grass, floating people, and babies the size of houses. If you correct them you will damage their self-confidence and interrupt their natural learning progress.

  7. Ask open-ended questions.Avoid asking “what is it?” when presented with a drawing. Instead, ask “A child this young needs no instructions, only appreciation. Sit with children when they draw, talk can you tell me about your drawing?”

  8. If a child is excited to talk about their drawing, ask more questions. A child may begin to add more details when you ask questions. When a child is drawing representational work, they will often imagine a story that goes with the work. Asking them to tell you more details of their story will encourage them to draw more details.

  9. If you ask “What does the girl smell,” for example, they are more likely to add a nose. If you ask “Is the dog lonely at night?” they may draw more animals. This kind of exchange encourages imagination, story-telling abilities, and drawing skills.

  10. Make art part of emotional processing.If a child is experiencing a strong emotion, offer them paper and markers, or some clay. Art can help children process intense emotions that may be too complex for them to put in words. Giving a child a creative activity over which they have sovereignty can help them gain a sense of control.

  11. Display and save their drawings.Putting children’s art up is a way of letting them know their work is interesting and important. Rather than praising every individual drawing, display it. You do not have to put up every piece of art: ask each child what they would like displayed, or create a rotating “gallery” that changes weekly or monthly. Keep a portfolio of each child’s drawings so they can observe their process.

  12. It is more important that a child’s practice is affirmed than that their art products are displayed. Displaying final products is no replacement for encouraging the development of their drawing.

  13. Focus on one medium at a time.Offer children the chance to practice with different media. Children between 4-8 yrs. old may be open to drawing with pencils, which will allow them to focus on shading and contour. Show children different materials and allow them to experiment. Suggest phases: First we will draw with a pencil, then with watercolours.

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