How To Encourage Kids To Love Drawing

Drawing is a great way to work on fine motor development and creativity, and to practice skills related to writing, but it’s not the only way to work on those things, and usually kids who are not interested in drawing are busy working on other skills and will come to drawing and writing in their own time if you don’t pressure them.

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1.Do not ever denigrate yourself or your own drawing abilities

If you are the one who teach them to draw, show the kids that you have confidence in yourself and are at peace with your abilities (in drawing). Children learn by example, do not ever say, “I can’t draw.” If you don’t feel like you can draw a realistic giraffe, that’s okay! Realism is overrated! Or, if you don’t think so, pretend you do for a little while. Draw abstract, doodle squares, circles, spirals, hash marks, letters, and whatever else you think of across the page. Make them enjoy the process and keep their pen moving.

2. Give them lots of opportunities to draw without pressure or direction

Some children shy away from drawing because they don’t think they can ‘do it right’ so providing lots of opportunities to draw on their own terms, when it is not a special activity, when no one else is watching, can give these children the space to experiment and practice without pressure. Have drawing implements and paper always freely available so your child can draw or write whenever they like, without having to ask and without the pressure of anyone ‘watching’. Try setting up a drawing basket with lots of fun items in it.

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3. Be conscious of how you talk to your child about the art she makes

Don’t just say, “that’s pretty,” but talk about the marks she is making on the page or the colors she is using or say, “Wow! You really worked hard on that!” Ask children to tell you about their artwork. If the kid is a young three, they might not be assigning meaning to her art yet (or she might be), but as she gets closer to four, she will likely be more and more elaborate with the stories that go along with her art.

4. Find meaningful reasons to draw

Some kids need a good, practical, reason to draw. These are some alternative reasons you might use to motivate them:

  • Drawing for their own postcards.
  • Draw a list of things they’d like for their birthday or Christmas.
  • Make a sign for their bedroom door, or a ‘please don’t break my Lego construction’ sign.
  • Write and illustrate a book together.
  • Create a sheet of wrapping paper for a special present.

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5. Make art fun and exploratory

Try not to expect particular outcomes but rather encourage her to explore the art materials (paints, crayons, shaving cream, etc), ideas (big/small, themes from her life, similar and contrasting colors), and techniques (watercolor resist, splatter painting, shaving cream marbling) in her own way. Introduce new materials and techniques, but also stand back and let her explore art on her own in her own way. Try to have some art materials accessible for her to use any time she likes. This could be an art caddy with markers, crayons, scissors and tape near the kitchen table or it could be her own little dedicated art space with a table or easel and a wider range of kids’ art supplies.

6. Keep your art activities appropriate for her age and developmental stage

Do not think that teaching a child “how to draw” is appropriate at age three. You can guide them through the occasional observational drawing exercise if you like, preferably in a way that is as much about observing as it is about drawing. But the most important thing at this age is to encourage open-ended exploration of art materials, self-confidence, and enjoyment in art and learning.

7. Get their whole body involved.

Sitting still at a table to draw may be difficult for some kids, and just plain boring for others, but getting more than just their hands involved might help. Buy a big roll of paper and draw a huge picture on the floor. Or draw around each other to make a life sized person. Put some paper under the swing and draw as you glide past. Drawing a chalk maze outside on the concrete might be a good idea, too.

What do you think? Do you agree or would you suggest something else for your kids about teaching them drawing skills? You are the one who decide.

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