The Importance Of Drawing In Children’s Development
Often, only when it’s raining outside, and the usual favourite toys are no longer cutting it, do the paper and crayons come out. According to experts in child development and psychology, however, far from being just a fun activity, drawing plays an important role in children’s development, helping them to communicate, learn and remember.
Plus, it’s an inexpensive activity that requires no more than some paper and crayons!
Drawing Helps To Develop Fine Motor Skills
Most children start making their first scribbles between the ages of 12 and 18 months, although there’s no reason not to encourage them to pick up a crayon and start drawing on paper sooner than that. Holding a crayon or paintbrush helps to develop the small muscles in the hand that are important in fine motor skills.
Beginning with scribbles, progressing to lines and circles, and then objects and people, the more a child draws, the more their fine motor skills will develop, preparing them for learning to write.
Drawing Helps Improve Hand-Eye Coordination
Hand-eye coordination is important for all kinds of everyday tasks, from dressing and tying shoelaces to eating as well as sporting activities and school work. Developing hand-eye coordination takes practice and drawing provides children with the opportunity to form connections between what they see and what they do.
Drawing can also help in the development of concentration skills; for example, by encouraging your child to draw an object in front of them, they learn to focus on small details and concentrate on achieving a result.
Drawing Helps Memory
Research  has discovered that children give more information about an event they have experienced when they are asked to draw and talk about it at the same time.
It can also help them to think about objects and their feelings towards them. For example, if a child draws something familiar, such as a family pet, it prompts them to use their memory to recall what they know and feel about them.
Drawing Helps Children To Express Themselves
For children who are non-verbal, for reasons of age or other, drawing is an invaluable outlet for them to communicate their thoughts and feelings. With practice, children are able to create increasingly detailed drawings that represent what they have seen or what they remember.
Drawing Encourages Imagination And Creativity
Putting crayon to paper allows children to explore their experiences of the world. Experts recommend providing children with plain paper, so they are free to draw unhindered. Providing children with different coloured paper and a range of drawing utensils, such as coloured crayons and paints, enables them to experiment and think about use of colours. Asking your child questions about what they are creating is a great way to help them build their vocabulary and verbal expression.
Drawing Helps Develop Problem-Solving Skills
As children begin to draw more complex shapes, they need to consider problems such as what colours to use, what does a house look like, how many legs does a dog have, as well as more complex concepts such as scale and proportion. This kind of problem-solving is invaluable in helping to prepare them for school and further learning.
How To Encourage Your Child To Draw
Research by Associate Professor of Developmental Psychology, Richard Jolley, and Senior Lecturer in Psychology and Child Development, Sarah Rose, at Staffordshire University, discovered that ‘children whose parents spent longer with them while they drew took more enjoyment from their drawing.’  While it is recommended that parents and carers don’t draw for their children or be prescriptive about what they draw, simply sitting with your child and asking them about what they are doing can be hugely beneficial.
Drawing Is An Inexpensive And Eco-Friendly Activity
One of the great things about drawing is that it is a low-impact and low-cost activity, requiring very little by way of materials. Paper and card are ideal for little ones to develop their drawing skills. Of course, you can buy new, but scraps of paper and old boxes make equally good canvases for early art. And while you may want to display pictures on the wall, discarded materials can be recycled easily in your kerbside collection – in Europe, 71% of paper and 82% of cardboard packaging is recycled – so you won’t be adding to landfill.
Don’t wait for bad weather before you get the paper and crayons out!
Further Activities And Reading
- Love Paper – comic book activities
- Love Paper – drawing and colouring
- Your Early Learning Centre – Why drawing is good for your child
- Under 5s – The importance of drawing
- Dimensions of Early Childhood – Opening a Window to Foster Children’s Self-Confidence through Creative Art Activities
- Escreo – How drawing helps develop your child’s motor skills