Drawing is a skill that offers a great many benefits for small (and large) hands and brains. In the process of drawing, kids get to practice several important developmental skills which assist them as they mature. The practice of drawing1:
Develops fine motor skills: Drawing allows kids the opportunity to practice holding and manipulating writing implements and get immediate visual feedback so that they can adjust and adapt as they go. Drawing helps kids to develop the specialised fine motor movements in hands, wrists and fingers that are key for so many of our everyday activities.
Encourages visual analysis: Concepts such as distance and size comparison are learnt, and drawing provides kids a great chance to explore the visual analysis of their space by having to draw it, for example, drawing two objects in relation to each other.
Helps to establish concentration: Drawing allows kids to practice keeping their attention focused and to concentrate on a specific result or outcome. These concepts are essential for academic success, even at elementary level.
Improves hand-eye coordination: Drawing also helps kids to match what they’re seeing with what they’re doing – another skill that is key in many athletic and recreational activities.
Increases individual confidence: Being able to create physical representations from the imagination is pretty thrilling for a kid and helps to build confidence that can carry through to other areas where they may not feel as confident.
Teaches creative problem solving: When trying to figure out how body parts connect, how to portray emotions or depict texture, kids are practicing creative problem solving. By providing specific drawing tasks and discussing your child’s choice and approach, they get to develop stronger problem-solving skills over time.
So, it’s clear that drawing is an excellent activity for your kids to spend time on. Here are some helpful tips on how to encourage healthy engagement with their creative skills as well as your own2:
Never say ‘I can’t draw’ in front of your kids! Even if you believe you can’t actually draw, children learn by example and will fall in line with that belief even before they’ve tried themselves!
Be aware of how you speak to your child about their artwork as they will absorb what you say very deeply. A good idea is to encourage them to tell you about their own artwork, rather than offering your opinion first.
Keep art activities developmentally and age appropriate so that they are provided opportunities to explore at their own pace with no pressure to perform or achieve.
Make art fun and exploratory by introducing or incorporating a variety of:
Art materials (paints, crayons, pastels, glitter)
Ideas (opposites, colours, themes/objects from life)
Art activities are a wonderful opportunity for your child to explore and develop many important skills. They also offer the chance for you to spend creative, bonding time with your kids, no matter what age they are. If you’d like to incorporate some fun art ideas into your week, have a look at these resources for some great ideas: