Creativity is a stepping stone to learning and success. When the children are curious and creative, they will always figure a way out of the problems. When children are creative, they become confident, inquisitive, resourceful, and thoughtful.
At first, for these young children, art and writing are all the same. They can’t figure out between writing and drawing. It’s all the same for them.
How do you know if your child is working his/her way around writing and drawing? Or how do you know if your toddler is experimenting with crayons and pencils? You will see this when your child takes that colorful pencil or crayon and his/her work becomes more manageable and understandable as they grow.
There are five phases of drawing and writing that every child undergoes or sees. Most children can hold a crayon by 15 months and by the time they are three years old, they can comfortably hold a crayon/pencil and identify colors. However, it’s important to remember that the ability to hold crayons differs from children and the timeline given here is approximate. Not all children grow at the same speed. Some grow fast and some slow and this should not be taken as a sign of underdevelopment.
Phase 1: Children Scribble in a Random Manner
Children start scribbling random things on walls and papers by the time they 15 months old and this can extend until they are 2.5 years old. This is the time when they start adjusting their fist around writing materials. Remember that they still can’t hold the writing materials with their fingers. The scribbling is due to shoulder movement and not wrist as older children and adults have.
While it’s fun for some children to hold crayons and pencils, some children may not enjoy this activity. You can try to introduce your children to writing materials, but do not force. Just give them a few colorful writing materials and paper and let them do whatever they want. If they don’t like it, they will simply move to other activities. You can introduce them to writing materials as and when they grow.
Phase 2: Children Scribble in a Controlled Manner
Between the ages 2 and 3, children enjoy scribbling in a controlled way, which means they have better-grasping power and this is visible in the different types of lines, uneven circles or some odd shapes. It’s around this time that children can hold the pencil, crayon, or even colored chalk between their index finger and thumb.
Phase 3: Children Draw Lines, Curves, and Patterns
By the time children are 2.5 years old and moving up to 3.5 years, they can understand and draw lines, curves, and patterns. Because the children do it in their way and style and with their understanding, these might not look perfect in any sense. However, this is an attempt that needs to be appreciated. The lines, curves, and uneven patterns that your child draws are his/her first major attempt at understanding shapes and things around him.
Phase 4: Children Draw Pictures of Objects, People
Around the age of 3 and above, children have a better understanding of things, objects and people around them and that reflects in their writings and drawings. With better control over hand and mind, children will be able to make better creations.
Although they will take their own time, they will think before starting to work on creation. This will result in better writing and drawings with more details, precision, and colors.
Phase 5: Children Practise With Letters and Words
By the age of 3 or 3.5 years, your child would have written and drawn for a couple of years and would have also begun using alphabets to write. This phase differs with children as some may learn to do this a little later in life and some may start early. Most children start by writing their names and move on to writing different words like that of siblings, plants, or animals.
Based on several factors like exposure to books and other written content, their scribbling also changes. They also begin to read longer sentences in the form of storybooks.
How to Encourage Writing and Drawing in Children
Make Both Writing and Drawing Part of Playtime
In order for children to effectively learn to draw and write, parents should make both these activities part of the regular playtime. Give your children colorful pencils, crayons, blank books and give them the freedom to write and draw anything. It’s okay for them to copy from any source. If they want to use a booklet or newspapers or any content to copy, give them those. When your child is old enough to know the hazards of clay, give him/her that as well and ask them to make something out of it.
Let your child’s imagination run riot. Do not instruct them on how or what to write to draw. Children need independence to become confident, clever, and competent. This will reflect in their adult life as well when they start to build a career for themselves. If you need to do something, just sit by their side and guide them.
Encourage and compliment them after they have finished writing or drawing. Tell them how happy you are looking at their drawing or writing. Ask them what is drawing about? Ask them why did they choose a particular color? What did he/she write? What does he/she intend to show? These will make them happy and encourage them to even better.
Try Different Writing, Colouring, and Drawing Materials
Don’t restrict your child to just color pencils and crayons. These are necessary but your child also needs to experiment with other materials as well. Give your child materials like cotton strings, cotton ball, sketch pens, ball pens, and a sponge or even others and ask them to use these the way they want to draw and write.
Encourage Your Child to Write
When your child writes something, however significant or insignificant it may be, you must feel happy. If there are typos or their handwriting is bad, don’t fret. They are just kids and are learning to write. Tell them to write a letter to their friends or even to their class teacher. Tell them to use the words that they remember or know. If they ask for a new set of stationery set, buy it as it will make them happy.
Finally, in the end, it all boils down to encouragement at home. We all know how difficult it is to make kids write. While they love to color and draw, children need to be coaxed into writing. However, one important point is both the parents need to be on the same page when it comes to convincing the child to write and draw.