As your toddler gets to about 12 months they will start to show an interest in drawing. It may look like a few marks on a piece of paper but the skill of drawing extends to so much more than that and has many benefits for every stage of childhood.
So, what are the benefits of drawing?
- Develops fine motor skills
Getting used to holding a pencil or crayon encourages a child to develop their fine motor skills. Whereas a gross motor skill focuses on whole body movements such as kicking a ball, fine motor skills use the small muscles in your hands and wrists to make movements. As your child grows, these fine motor skills will help them with buttoning up a coat, cutting, threading and playing with Lego.
- Encourages hand eye coordination
The nature of drawing requires hand eye coordination. This is a cognitive skill which requires the brain to process and transfer information from the eyes to the hands. This is a skill which will assist in activities such as throwing and catching a ball and reading and writing.
- Drawing creates the foundation of writing skills
As a child uses a crayon or pencil to draw, they are gradually putting in the groundwork for writing once they start school. Children often begin by the age of 2 or 3 to start drawing circles or shapes and learning how to control a pencil to make the moves they want it to. This in turn will eventually assist them with the ability to form letters and words.
- Encourages a child’s attention span
The quiet activity of drawing teaches a child to focus. We live in a busy bustling world full of distractions and our attention spans, even as adults, have decreased as we move on from one thing to the next. Sitting down in a quiet space, focusing and drawing can help develop and increase a child’s attention span.
- Builds on confidence and imagination
From the initial scribbles of a toddler to a drawing of a school age child, drawing encourages confidence and imagination. As their works of arts change from lines, to shapes to depictions of superheroes, a child is using their imagination every step of the way. Confidence also increases as they proudly show off their work with a sense of achievement.
- Drawing is a form of expression
As a toddler grows and starts to draw pictures, it is an opportunity to see the world through their eyes. A drawing of their school for example, can help a parent see the environment from their child’s perspective. This is why drawing is an excellent and well used form of therapy with children. Art therapy encourages a child who cannot open up verbally, to visually express their feelings.
Drawing is a lovely bonding activity between a parent and child and also allows for a calm space to let their imaginations and skills grow. Keep pens and paper readily assessable and praise their work to encourage the inner artist within.
by Karen Olney