More Than Just Doodles
To the casual observer a child who is drawing or coloring in, is merely doodling. The marks seem to be decidedly random, almost meaningless. But there is more going on in your young child’s mind as s/he engages in the physical act of drawing and coloring.
In fact, examining a child’s drawing gives us important insights into how drawing fits into the overall physical, emotional and cognitive development of the young child. From toddlerhood through to primary school, children choose to draw and color, but the process actually starts much earlier – during toddlerhood.
At around the age of 18 months, toddlers become interested in scribbling. It seems to provide sensory enjoyment, but the child is also interested in the marks that are made. The act of doodling or scribbling can serve several useful purposes for the young child. Small muscle coordination and control improve with practice, cognitive abilities are exercised, opportunities for social interaction arise, and the physical movements provide emotional release.
Because a toddler’s small muscle control is not fully developed, he or she may approach the coloring sheet by grasping the marker with his or her fist and may well find it difficult to place the marks exactly where he or she wants them. Movements are typically large, involving the whole arm and sometimes the upper boyd with very little finger or wrist control. This is because the pattern of physical development in children begins from the center of the trunk outward.
With practice, the toddler will naturally improve his or her control, full control, however, will not be achieved until much later. Some toddlers will rest their forearm on the drawing surface to give them additional control. A repetitive scrubbing motion is common among two-year-olds. This provides them with sensory enjoyment and making drawing a very physical act.
By providing children with the materials and opportunities to scribble we can promote physical skills. Just as babbling is a natural way to gain language, scribbling is a natural gateway to muscle control and coordination.
Form an intellectual point of view young toddlers care about both the process and results of their art. They really do not intend to represent objects at first. Instead, they are mainly concerned with color and line. However, they may actually look at the scribbles they have made and, in surprise, recognize a shape and name it. While they may not have intended to draw a dog or tree, the scribbles suggest the shapes. Children interpret, rather than intend. In child development circles this is referred to as fortuitous realism and becomes common as a child approaches three years of age.
As a parent you can encourage your little one to draw and to color by offering him or her opportunities to do so. Provide them with blank sheets of paper to let their creativity run wild or supply a coloring book or coloring sheets – many of which are available free of charge online. Little boys may enjoy coloring images of cars and trucks or of favorite characters such as Spiderman and at sites like Spiderman Coloring you’ll find Spiderman coloring pages as well as coloring pages, funny pics and more. For little girls search for coloring pages of princesses or fairies or anything else she may be interested in such as Disney characters or even trucks!
Remember to always supervise toddlers while they draw and color – due to the choking hazard that crayons pose.Tags: drawing, draw, paint
Filed under: Drawing and Art
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