Children draw to express what they are feeling and thinking. Drawing is a particularly important outlet for children who do not yet have the verbal skills to communicate their feelings. When a child draws something familiar to them, for example, a cat, they have the opportunity to think about what they know and what they feel towards this animal. They use their memory to remember what they know about cats, in turn, expand their concentration skills. Drawing also helps to develop manipulative skills that will help children write.
Stages of art development
The art of each child is unique and follows a universal pattern of development. All children go through the same stages, but the age at which this happens varies. The first stage is “experimenting”, where young children learn how to make marks on paper. The goal here is to see what they can do through practice and repetition. As children gain more control of their pencil they are likely to make circular patterns and work takes less than the page. As children are able to constantly create circles and lines, you can see circles with lines radiating from them. The next stage is where these circles and lines begin to become objects as people, since children are able to represent what they are thinking. With continued practice they make finer details that begin to appear as people having fingers and eyebrows.
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Some research has indicated that coloring books can restrict the creativity of some children and their independence of expression. Some children may use the drawings in these books as a model of what an object should look like. If a horse is seen in a certain way in the coloring book, children may believe that their horse should look the same. They may also feel a sense of not being able to achieve what was expected because they cannot color within the lines provided. This could limit their ability to draw with feeling and emotion to represent objects as they see them instead of how the lines portray them. Art is about discovering, using the imagination, experimenting and testing new methods and expressions. You know your child better, his temperament and ability, so you will know if coloring books are a tool or not useful.
Talk to children about their art
Around the age of 3 ½ children can begin to have a plan for what they are drawing. However, as adults we do not know what the intentions of our children are. It is a good idea to talk about what your child is getting because it shows interest, but it is important not to label the unknown. A general statement like “Can you tell me about your photo” is a good conversation topic that allows your child to tell his story. Watching your child’s artwork on the refrigerator or making a frame for the special work shows that what they have done is important.
What drawing experiences can you offer?
Children need a variety of items to draw. These could be pens, chalk, crayons, paint and brushes. Products like paper, cardboard, boxes, concrete, or even the fence, are good places to draw. Begin by drawing experiences as soon as your child shows interest; usually around eight months.