In the gloomy weather when a trip to the park seems improbable, parents often turn to crayons, pencils, and paper as a means to keep their children entertained. However, drawing is more than just a fun pastime; it holds a myriad of benefits for a child’s development.
Drawing allows children to take their experiences of the world and transform them, forging new connections and relationships through their imaginative minds. By drawing, children can explore, expand upon, and record their own creative and imaginative ideas, drawing upon their knowledge, memories, and fantasies.
Richard Jolley, one of the researchers, conducted a study on the use of drawing in Chinese infant schools, which cater to children aged three to six. These schools emphasize teaching young children representational drawing skills while also fostering their enjoyment of drawing by encouraging the creation of creative and expressive pictures from their imagination.
During the study, children were asked to draw a representation of where they came from. One young boy drew a rose, a symbol of Kunming, the city where he resided. He explained that he believed he had come from the rose, depicting his hair covered in red pollen.
Drawing serves as a means for children to express themselves and communicate with others. Through drawing, a child can vividly relive a joyful event like a birthday party or use it as a therapeutic outlet to cope with emotions stemming from a sad event, such as a bereavement.
Child art therapy recognizes drawing as an essential medium for communication. It provides a non-verbal way for children to express a wide range of emotional and behavioral difficulties, facilitating change and growth.
Moreover, drawing contributes to children’s learning. Research demonstrates that incorporating drawing as a teaching activity can enhance children’s understanding in various domains, including science. A group of children was taught two different strategies to grasp a scientific concept. One strategy involved sketching out ideas, while the other did not. Among the students who excelled at each strategy, those who utilized drawing exhibited a better comprehension of the subject.
Drawing also holds potential for improving children’s memory. Studies reveal that when children are asked to draw while discussing a past event, they provide more detailed information about the experience. Drawing has been found to enhance children’s recall of events that occurred even a year earlier.
As with any skill, practice plays a vital role in perfecting drawing abilities. Drawing serves as an exercise in problem-solving, as children strive to depict a three-dimensional object or scene on a two-dimensional surface. With age, practice, and instruction, children typically produce increasingly realistic representations of their subjects. Throughout this process, children experiment with different lines, shapes, spatial alignment, and proportions.
To support their children’s drawing endeavors, parents can start by providing them with the necessary materials and dedicated time to draw. Encouragement is also crucial. A report by Arts Council England reveals that many children lack encouragement to participate in artistic activities. However, those who do receive encouragement are more likely to engage in the arts as adults. This implies that encouragement not only benefits present engagement but also fosters future artistic endeavors.
Parents can further aid their children by sitting alongside them while they draw, engaging in conversation. A friendly and supportive environment can be highly encouraging for children. Research conducted on children’s drawing experiences indicates that those whose parents spent more time with them during drawing activities derived greater enjoyment from their artistic pursuits.
Psychologists who work with children often incorporate drawing as a tool for gaining deeper insight into their experiences and personal reflections. Parents can adopt the same approach, using drawing as a means to understand their children better.
Another effective approach is drawing alongside your child. Studies show that children often draw inspiration from drawings made by others, such as cartoons or those created by their parents or siblings. Research suggests that children value receiving demonstrations of drawing as it supports their own artistic development. Thus, drawing together or collaborating on a shared artwork can provide valuable inspiration for children.
Additionally, introducing children to various drawing styles can broaden their artistic horizons. Children might find inspiration in a particular artistic style, such as manga, which can help them develop their drawing skills while making sense of the world around them. Parents can borrow comic books from the library to ignite their children’s creative spark. They might even consider joining in and learning to draw in a different style together.
Creating geometric designs, patterns, and doodles is often promoted as an effective means of developing children’s drawing skills, fine motor control, hand-eye coordination, creativity, and imagination. Doodling can be incredibly enjoyable and has been linked to enhanced learning and recall in both children and adults. By setting an example and doodling together, parents can encourage their children to explore their creativity further.
Drawing is not merely a pastime for children but a powerful tool for their holistic development. By understanding the benefits of drawing and actively supporting their children’s artistic endeavors, parents can foster their creativity, communication skills, learning abilities, and emotional well-being.