Please forward this error screen to 198. Teaching a child to draw is mostly a question of observing their progress and offering them new methods of exploration. For the first five years of a drawing for young children 3 4’s life, your teaching will be limited to providing space, time, tools, and encouragement. In later years, you may offer to teach a child new skills, such as drawing from observation, practicing perspectives, and drawing correct proportions.
Make art part of the routine. Make an art-zone if you want to isolate the mess. 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. Buy chunky crayons and washable markers that are easy to grip.
Offer a variety of art materials at this age. Don’t focus only on drawing with tools: children can draw by tracing pictures in sand, or shaping clay and sticking it on the page. Buy washable paints, nontoxic clay, chalk, child-safe scissors, and many kinds of paper, and store in an easy to access spot. Children develop basic motor skills with every scribble. They also develop creativity, invention, and self-expression. A child this young needs no instructions, only appreciation.
Sit with children when they draw, talk with them about their art, but do not attempt to teach. Rather than praising or correcting a child’s art, observe it. Comment on the process, not the product. While the child draws, say “look at all the circles you are making! Some small circles are inside the big circles” or “I see you are using orange and green crayons now. Say what you like about a drawing: “that big sun makes me think of a day at the beach! Instead, ask “can you tell me about your drawing?
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. Make art part of emotional processing. If a child is experiencing a strong emotion, offer them paper and markers, or some clay. If a child is having a tantrum, suggest they make an angry picture.
If they are sad, a sad one. Art can help children process intense emotions that may be too complex for them to put in words. These drawings are a child’s first steps toward writing. As they grow, the squiggles will become more complex. A child may begin to vary short and long squiggles, or draw letter-like shapes mixed up with real letters. Let children use the texts they produce.
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. Teach your child to practice observation.
Around the age of 5, you can start teaching observational drawing. This involves teaching children how to draw from the appearance of things, rather than their knowledge or imagination of them. To begin training them in observation, teach them to think of their drawings as practice. Do not force observational drawing on a child. Pushing a child to a new stage of drawing might discourage or stunt their learning.
Affirm other kinds of drawings as well: storytelling and imagination based drawings, abstract or emotional drawings. Train them to draw new objects. Around age 5 or 6, children develop schema, or ways of drawing things. Instead of teaching them to observe things they have “already learned” how to draw, like houses, a pet, or trees, let them pick something they have never drawn before.