The drawing helps to develop the artistic sense of your child and to assert his personality. It is also a way of writing. Before 3 years old, it is especially the time of the scribbles and the first lines, but now that your child is 3 years old, his drawings will become more and more evolved.
Around 3 years old: he starts to draw
The hand-eye coordination of your child improves. He controls the pencil better and better: he can now lift it and put it back in the same place. He begins to draw closed circles, which requires good control of his gestures. He can then copy a horizontal line, a vertical line and a circle, which you will have drawn.
Your child begins to want to represent something. His production being built at random from the lines he traces, he will not be able to recognize what he has drawn afterward: it is fortuitous realism. He thus discovers a similarity of forms between an object and its layout. Colors are also random. It is useless to ask him what he draws. He can not answer you until he has finished.
At this point, it is difficult for anyone other than your child to recognize what his drawing represents. He may even change the description if you show him the same drawing sometime later. Rather than trying to guess what your child has drawn, better ask him.
By keeping your children’s drawings and flipping through them from time to time, you will notice changes that reflect the evolution of their intelligence and their increasingly refined perception of reality.
Around 4 years
Towards the age of 4, drawings become more realistic, more detailed and are easily recognizable because they gain in skill. His drawings are then more coherent than in the previous step, even if the proportions and perspective are not yet good. He now uses squares and rectangles, especially to make the body of his characters. He will integrate, later, the triangle to his arsenal of forms. The first geometric shapes are often drawn by accident. Gradually, he will reproduce them voluntarily.
As he draws voluminously what is important to him, the characters are often as big as the houses. The characters often have a disproportionate head compared to the body.
Around 5 years old, the child enters the preschematic period. He likes to reproduce certain shapes or patterns that are recognizable. This prepares him for writing.
Your child relies on what he knows about objects to reproduce in his drawings, not what he actually sees. This is the beginning of intellectual realism. Thus, as he knows that a table has 4 feet, he will draw them systematically, whatever the layout of the table.
If you ask him to draw his house, he will probably draw a house as he sees it: 4 walls, 1 roof (usually sloping), 1 door and windows, even if he lives in an apartment. There is also transparency in his drawings. If he draws a child sitting in a car (which we will see the 4 wheels, even in profile), his legs will also be visible. If he draws mom in the house, it will be seen entirely through the walls.
The drawings of the child of this age do not represent the reality, but they approach it gradually. It is only around 7 or 8 years old that your child will actually draw what he sees. He will then rely on the observation of objects to reproduce them respecting their concrete particularities: this is the stage of visual realism.
The evolution of his fellows
His drawings of men also evolve in stages.
- Around 3 ½ years old, the child begins to draw “tadpoles” men: a circle represents the head, to which he adds eyes. The arms, represented by horizontal lines, emerge on each side of this head. The legs, represented by vertical lines, are hung at the bottom of the head. Little by little, the character gains in detail: the nose, the mouth, and the eyebrows are added. Then come the hair and the ears. It is estimated that 90% of toddlers do this type of drawing.
- Around 5 years, to represent the trunk, he adds another circle or a vertical line under the head of his man. He then draws the neck and shoulders, then the legs (represented by 2 parallel lines), the feet and the fingers (represented by circles or lines, but not necessarily many). The guy also has more and more details like hair, nose, mouth, etc. The child represents little clothes. It is only around 6 years that man will be dressed. Gradually, your child goes from drawings where the characters are represented face and still, drawings of men in action, in different positions.
How to support its development
- Just put the material at your disposal: paint, markers, pencils, pictures to stick … It is important to accept that it uses plenty of gouache, glue, that the paper is found or that it is all “Quaver”.
- Let him live his fantasy and choose his colors. You can tell him: “In reality, trees are brown and green, but when you draw, you put the colors you want. “
- In the end, rather than trying to make his drawing perfect, you can ask him to “check” if all he wants to put is there.
- Respect his fantasies. He draws better and better, but his drawings have neither tail nor head? It does not matter. We must accept that his colors are fanciful, that his fellows have no arms or legs.
- He does not like his drawing? Rather than tell him that his drawing is beautiful, it is better to make him think by asking him: “What do you dislike in your drawing? You can also explain to him: “You know, sometimes the hand does not listen to us. It takes time before we can do what we want. In saying this, we simply put it in front of reality. The child is taught to trust each other, develop self-esteem, and manage frustration. Likewise, if you always show him how to do it, he will remain dependent. It will take for granted that what adults do is better. This will limit his initiative.
- Priority to the blank sheet! The coloring book is fun, but it teaches the child to trust a model. If you want to teach him to become more precise and not to exceed, it is better to ask him to draw lots of circles and to color them. He will learn to control his gesture.
- Accept that he unpacks his works. Up to 4 years, the child does not try to do something beautiful, he wants to play. He draws simply for the pleasure it gives him. Make, undo, stick, take off, pick up: it’s his favorite game. This helps to boost his self-esteem as he learns to have control over the objects. Around age 4, he goes to another stage: to make, and not to undo. He begins to fold, wrap, give gifts. You will then be entitled to an industrial quantity of drawings!
Suggestions for comments to your child
Comments that help him feel good
- I like the colors you have chosen.
- I like the details you added. You are very observant.
- You took all the space on your sheet, it is not easy and you succeeded!
- You have very good ideas.
- I like to see how your hand has chosen to make your boat.
- It looks like your sun is warming me.
- I love your drawing, only you can do it, it is unique!
- You have added lots of little details, it’s very nice to watch.
- This is the first time you do this drawing? I love her so much.
- Oh! There are patterns on your animal or on the character’s clothes. What a good idea!
- I find your drawing very expressive. I saw you draw quickly, with a lot of movement.
- Today, you had the taste to put only color, no character. It’s your choice because you are the author of your drawing.
- And if we digitized your drawing to send it to Grandpa or Aunt Alexandra?
Comments that help him to continue his drawing, but without imposing your ideas
- I would like to go up to your house to see what’s around.
- And if your flower had a friend or friends, who would they be?
- What’s the weather like in your story?
- Is it spring, summer, winter or autumn in your drawing?
- Your characters, where are they? I do not see them in your drawing.
- I imagine myself climbing in your tree: I could sing with your birds.
- I would like to live in your castle.
Comments that help him tell you about his drawing
- It looks like the little boy is telling a story. What is it?
- Oh! There are things going on in this drawing, I would like you to explain to me.
- Tell me your drawing.
- What are they doing? What is happening?
- What does your character feel? What does he live in his heart?