Learn how to teach kids to draw in 8 simple steps. Don’t worry, you don’t need to be an artist yourself!
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How Drawing Benefits Kids
Drawing introduces children to the world of creativity. It’s beneficial for your child’s artistic development and their cognitive development.
While the skill of drawing itself takes some practice and a whole lot of patience, teaching your child to draw should be a relaxed and fun activity that assists their development and encourages quality time between parent and child. In this article, we’ll look at the benefits of drawing for kids, as well as some helpful tips on how to teach them.
Learning how to sketch and draw is a fantastic exercise to help nurture a child’s creativity.
Drawing teaches creative problem-solving and develops fine motor skills. It also gets children used to different mediums and ready for school.
Some significant benefits of teaching children to draw include:
1. Drawing Develops Patience and Concentration
Drawing offers an opportunity for kids to learn how to focus on a task. Learning to draw requires patience and concentration, and developing this discipline helps children succeed in school.
2. Drawing Teaches Children to Value Progress and Perseverance
Through drawing, children observe their own progress and learn to persevere in order to become better at something. Seeing this progress and finishing drawing tasks gives kids confidence in their abilities.
3. Learning How to Draw Develops Creative Expression
Creative expression is important for developing personal identity. It also improves creative problem-solving abilities.
4. Art Offers an Opportunity for Parents and Children to Bond
As you draw with your child, you strengthen your relationship and get insights that help you understand them better. Cheer your child on and display their finished drawings to encourage them.
5. Drawing Develops Motor Skills and Hand Eye Coordination
Drawing is a very effective way to practice hand-eye coordination and develop fine motor skills.
Learning to Draw Teaches Visual Perception
As children draw, their developing brains notice size comparisons, distance, perspective, and texture. This awareness supports both the creative and analytical mind.
8 Tips For Teaching Kids To Draw
Teaching children to draw is honestly really simple (although messy and overwhelming at times).
We underestimate children’s natural ability to progress independently and find their creative expression naturally. We tend to want to take control from our adult perspective. The stages of drawing development are unique for each child and should not be rushed.
Nurturing a child’s creativity isn’t as much about the technical side of drawing and making them develop perfect technique. Rather, it’s simply about making consistent time for art. This way, children develop at their own pace and learn to love doing drawing, rather than feeling pressure around having to draw.
We’ve listed eight tips to help you guide the process below.
1. Let Them Play And Experiment
Learning to draw starts with freehand experimentation. Introducing any form of creative activities begins with play, especially for children. You don’t want to put them off or intimidate them too early on. Fun is key!
You want to give children the freedom to learn, play and experiment on their own, without being forced to “learn” by an adult.
Teaching kids about doodling is a good place to start. Guide them towards their imagination, encouraging them to draw whatever comes to mind.
For young children particularly, you can start to introduce technique with simple shapes and patterns. This will get them used to working with drawing tools and developing their motor skills.
A child might not know what to draw at first, so you can help them with some prompts. There are tons of ideas online to get the creative juices flowing. Let the creative process unfold and allow the drawing to turn into whatever it wants.
2. Make Drawing Easy
When learning anything, it’s vital to start out easy and gradually increase difficulty, especially for children. You can increase the difficulty level at your child’s own pace.
A step by step drawing activity is perfect to begin. Here are some ideas for easy drawing activities for children:
Drawing Activities for Children Aged 2-5 Years Old
Children this age are developing their motor skills and getting comfortable with drawing tools.
Learning to draw shapes and patterns is perfect for this age group. Start teaching them to focus on the process of creative expression rather than the finished product of the drawing.
Allow the children to enjoy the colors and the freedom of art. Choose tasks that are fun to do. Focus on the process of drawing instead of what the finished product is meant to look like.
This stage of learning to draw does not need to be formal, it’s more about exposure to the process. Coloring books tend to detract from learning natural creative expression, so limit these tasks.
Drawing Activities for Children Aged 5-7 Years Old
By the age of 5, you can start teaching observational drawing.
Allow the child to choose something easy that inspires them or offer a few go-to objects like fruit if they struggle to choose for themselves. Observational drawing is an excellent way to improve drawing skills as well as visual analysis.
Try drawing games to keep this age group’s attention engaged. One idea is the invitation game, where the caretaker or teacher will draw something, say a house, for example, and invite the child to add to the drawing. Goofy games like this waiting room drawing game and STEM drawing games like this golf drawing game are perfect for this age.
You can develop writing skills at this stage as well and start drawing letters and letter-like shapes. Rachelle Doorley’s Cursive creative adventures book is perfect for this age range.
Drawing Activities for Children Aged 7-12 Years Old
Continue using games, drawing prompts, and observational drawing tasks for this age group. This is a great age to introduce perspective art.
As children are more self-aware by this stage, you can start teaching them more about their personal creative expression, and encourage them to draw their emotions, represent their personal life and start having fun with abstract ideas.
At this age, you may also decide to send your child for art lessons or drawing classes, to nurture the skill further.
Drawing Activities for Children Aged 12+ Years Old
Depending on their skill level, children entering their teen years will be ready for more complex tasks.
As they have developed a lot of their own personality by now, it’s important that they have some room for individuality and creative expression in their art projects.
They will also be able to experiment with realistic drawings by this stage and explore various drawing ideas and techniques to further their skill.
3. Schedule Drawing Time
Children thrive on routine. When something is built into their schedule, they learn to look forward to it and adopt it as a regular part of their lives.
You might want to block out time for drawing a few afternoons a week after homework, or perhaps as an early evening or weekend activity.
Teach your child when drawing time is in their schedule, and they will learn to look forward to it. Knowing what to expect in their routine makes for healthy, happy, and committed children.
4. Keep Them Motivated
Keep your children motivated by rewarding and applauding them. Make them feel proud of their art and their progress, give them goals to work towards, and reward their accomplishments.
Creative skills are not valued enough in childhood, which is why all too often we lose them as adults. If you give your child’s creative skills time and attention, they are more likely to develop them and carry them into adulthood.
Society and even corporate culture are finally recognizing the value of creative skills across disciplines, so encouraging creativity will set your child up for success.
Keep your child motivated by letting them know that drawing takes lots of practice. This will help them not to get discouraged when it gets difficult.
5. Guide And Observe
A good teaching method is to guide the child by observing and commenting on what they’re drawing. If you wish to give them a tip or guide them in a certain direction, you can make gentle suggestions.
Be careful not to judge or force them to do it a better way, but simply offer observational guidance.
For example, this might look like the caretaker advising: “I see you’ve drawn a beautiful flower. Well done! If you look at flowers in real life, can you see that they also have stems and leaves? Why don’t you try adding these in, too?”
6. Get The Right Tools
Drawing can be messy. To make it a safe and enjoyable experience for children and parents, you can simplify life by getting the right drawing tools.
Drawing tablets and apps are a fantastic choice for children about four years plus. This will get them used to technology, plus there’s nothing to clean up.
A free app like Vectornator is perfect because it’s a high-quality digital illustration and graphic design app with tons of features and colors that you don’t have to spend money on.
You could even take it a step further with an animation app, where children can learn how to bring drawings to life through motion.
7. Drawing Tutorials
If you yourself don’t have the best drawing or sketching skills or aren’t the most patient teacher, you can turn to video tutorials on the internet. YouTube has plenty of free video tutorials for kids, and you can also find great quality courses for a reasonable price on platforms like Skillshare and Udemy.
8. Get Books To Help
There are some fantastic books and drawing guides out there to help with techniques and ideas. Some of the best books for teaching kids to draw are:
- Step by Step Drawing Book by Fiona Watt
- How To Draw For Kids by Jacy Corral
- How To Draw Cute Stuff by Angela Nguyen
- Portrait Drawing For Kids: A Step-by-Step Guide to Drawing Faces by Angela Rizza
- Draw 50 Animals by Lee J. Ames
Teaching kids to draw is about having fun. It should be quality time for caretakers and children and should inspire and motivate children.
It should nurture creative and emotional expression and teach them that creativity is a process, and this process itself should be the fun part.
As a parent, it can be frustrating in the beginning.
But it can be easy and highly beneficial to them as long as you surrender to the process, trust that they’ll come into it naturally with time, and be conscious of the fact that every reaction you have or judgment you make is influencing their self-perception around their creativity. have fun and don’t take it too seriously!