After posting the photo shown above to Facebook a Childhood 101 reader asked me for some tips for starting out with drawing with younger toddlers.
I would preface the following by saying that every child is different and there are a number of influences to when and how you would start out offering little ones the opportunity to draw. AJ is now fourteen months old and has been making marks with a range of drawing materials since she was about eleven months old, which is unsurprising given that her older sister spends so much time creating and that there is reasonably easy access to drawing supplies in the playroom.
So here are my thoughts and tips on starting out with drawing with toddlers;
- In my opinion it’s a good idea to wait until an older baby or toddler is standing quite steadily, or at least sitting up well, before starting out with drawing.
- Choose drawing tools that make marks easily – good quality crayons, oil pastels (the more traditional kind or slick stix), chunky pavement chalk or felt tipped pens. Ensure they are non toxic. I look for well know, child friendly brands like Crayola and Micador.
- Supervise closely, especially if your toddler is still mouthing objects.
- I find that AJ is most comfortable standing at a low table or our easel to draw, don’t limit yourself to times when your toddler is sitting as drawing on on a vertical surface assists with the development of hand and wrist strength and stability.
- Allow your toddler plenty of time and regular, repeated opportunities for mark making with a range of different drawing mediums.
- Remember, it is not about them representing any particular idea, instead they are learning to co-ordinate their body, arms, hands and fingers, and exploring what is possible when they manipulate each drawing tool.
What advice would you add to my list for starting out with toddlers and drawing?
For more ideas for creating with babies, toddlers and bigger kids, check out my new book, Time to Create: Hands On Explorations in Process Art For Young Children, now available online at all major online booksellers including The Book Depository, Amazon, Fishpond and Barnes & Noble.