Drawing is something that comes naturally to most children. Scribbling with crayons on paper (and hopefully not walls) provides children with a host of developmental benefits. According to the early years non-profit organisation Zero to Three, most children are able to make marks with a crayon at around 15 months old. And by the time they’re five, they’re usually able to draw objects and people.
In this guide, we explore the benefits that drawing can have on the development of young children and toddlers.
Helps Improve Concentration
Most toddlers have short attention spans. Children aged between 16-19 months are generally able to focus on a task for 2-3 minutes. However, regular drawing activity can help improve a child’s concentration levels and establish the concepts of practice and focus.
Concentrating on the intricacies of drawing is often the first step towards establishing good study habits at school, which can lead to academic success in the future. Allocating time in your child’s day to drawing will help develop their ability to concentrate on a range of tasks. Drawing little and often is the best way to improve their focus over time.
Encourages Self Expression and Creativity
Even toddlers with a good vocabulary aren’t always able to express their emotional needs. Drawing can help children develop their emotional intelligence in a creative way. Putting crayon to paper gives children another means of communication - even if the marks only really understood by the child themselves in that moment.
In some cases, a child’s drawings can provide insights into their emotions, particularly when the child is able to provide additional context.
For more information on the meaning of children’s drawings, take a look at this short video from creative arts therapist and author Theresa Foks-Appelman:
Kate Fargher, owner of BeBright Projects, and a keynote speaker on collaboration and education says: ‘drawing isn’t just about learning the skill, it’s about developing creativity. Parents and carers can encourage creativity through drawing in different ways. For example, messy play, or drawing and painting with unusual materials like sand, textiles, and shaving foam can help children see outside themselves.
It’s also important to use the right kind of language when drawing. For example, try asking questions like ‘what else could you do?’ to encourage divergent and innovative thinking.’
Jade Loynes is an Early Years Professional and runs the Raw Childhood blog, where she encourages the use of messy play as part of childhood development. She says: ‘drawing is known to have a calming and healing effect on children, particular those who have faced difficult or negative experiences.
Using play therapy techniques like drawing gives children the opportunity to interact, regardless of disabilities and/or language barriers. Drawing is an outlet for children who are non-verbal communicators and can improve their concentration skills and self-expression. Drawing also helps children to express their unrecognised and subconscious feelings, which is why it’s used widely as a form of therapy.’
Increases General Confidence
Praising a child’s drawing can really help increase their confidence and give them the motivation to try other activities. A child’s artwork is often a representation of how they see objects and people. Encouraging their self-expression improves their self-esteem, which can have a positive impact on their relationships and powers of interpretation.
When your child produces a drawing, give them praise and encourage them to talk about it with you. Ask them ‘who, what, why, where’ questions to gain further insights into their thought processes and feelings.
Develops Fine Motor Skills
Holding a crayon or other drawing implement helps children develop their hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills. The more practice your child has with making marks on paper, the quicker they’ll develop the ability to undertake more advanced activities like colouring and handwriting.
Emily Harper is the Franchise Manager at Art-K, a national art club that grows children’s self-confidence through developmental art projects. She says, ‘through drawing, children can develop their fine motor skills. At the beginning, this is done most effectively by the repetition of simple patterns. What you tend to see is that children will initially press really hard when they're uncertain of what they're doing and when they have less control. With encouragement and step-by-step guidance, it's possible to improve their skills and build their confidence.’
Encourages Visual Analysis
Drawing can help improve a child’s visual analysis and help them understand concepts like distance, space, texture, and size. Drawing activities can help children get to grips with how objects relate to each other, which in turn, helps them understand more advanced concepts like depth and volume.
Visual analysis is an essential skill for everyday life, which can be learned from a young age through artistic pursuits.
Emily adds, ‘through patterns, you can teach children visual perceptual skills, building up their general awareness of the world around them. If you tell a story whilst they're doing a drawing activity, you can take them on a magical journey through a jungle or an underwater palace. By combining drawing with story-telling in the Early Years, we've found that children's attention span inadvertently increases.’
Develops Problem-Solving Skills
Connecting lines and joining dots in the pursuit of making a drawing requires a certain level of problem solving. In order for a child to consciously draw an object, they first need to visualise the shape and then work out the best way to reproduce it on paper. The problem-solving skills that children develop from drawing will also transfer over to other subjects like maths, where visual representations can often help in finding a solution.
At Edu Prints Plus, we make motivational posters for children that are ideal for adding a splash of colour to bedroom walls and classrooms. All of our prints are made using high-quality 350 gsm art card with a lovely velvet finish. They also have added surface protection should your child’s artistic skills start to wander.
Whether your child is a Jackson Pollock in the making, or a little Picasso, our inspirational wall prints will help encourage their artistic expression. Here are two of our favourite prints from our ‘inspirational’ collection:
And remember, for every four prints you buy, you’ll get the fifth one free - all with free worldwide shipping.