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Child Development Stages: Drawing and Writing

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As parents, one of the most exciting times in our child’s development is the moment they start drawing and writing. This is a very special moment that is difficult to forget as it symbolizes that your child is now ready to embrace a whole new phase of life. Drawing and writing are both creative processes that are very useful throughout our entire lives. And creativity is the key to learning.

Why are drawing and writing important for a child?

Creativity goes hand in hand with curiosity. Kids who develop these two abilities at a younger age are better at solving problems, communicating with others, and learning. When at a young age, children have limited ways of experimenting with creativity and developing the skill. One of the most efficient ways is through play with creative art materials like a kids’ magic drawing mat. You’ll notice how your little one is interested to take a crayon in their fist and experiment with it on the wall or the carpets. Instead of getting angry, take advantage of the moment and show your toddler how amazing art can be.

Every child develops at their own speed and it’s essential that you don’t push your little one if you feel that they’re a bit behind other kids their age. Forcing them to do things they don’t yet feel comfortable with may have a long-term negative effect on their interest in art and writing. Rather, go with the flow and be supportive by introducing them to different materials and toys that can help with their development.

In this article, we’ll share with you the different phases that a child goes through when learning to draw and write. Knowing this information will help you understand what your little one is going through and could help you react in an adequate way that will stimulate them to continue developing in their natural rhythm.

When do children start to draw and write?

One of the most commonly seen questions that parents have is when will their children start to draw and write. As we mentioned earlier, there is no definite answer to this question. Every child is different and will require a different time period before they feel comfortable holding a crayon, pencil, or market and achieving controlled movements.

However, let’s explore child development from the standard point of view to see how a kid’s behavior changes after they’ve turned one.

Uncontrolled Scribbling

When your little one is 15-months old to two years and a half, the phase that they’re in in terms of development is uncontrolled scribbling. During this stage, the child is starting to understand that when they’re holding a marker, crayon, or pencil, their movements create lines and scribbles that are visible for them and the others. At this age, the scribbles are a result of large, uncontrolled movements as the child holds the drawing material in their fist. They are able to acknowledge the result of the art mainly via their senses. They rely on how the crayon feels in their hand, the odors they register from the painting material, and the textures around them.

You can learn a lot about what your child enjoys in terms of senses by watching them choose materials to draw with. Some kids may prefer paint while others will always choose a crayon or colored pencil.

Controlled Scribbling

Between the age of two and three, the child is able to create controlled scribbles and is more away of their movements. The muscle control in their bodies are better understood and managed and the hands and fingers can move in a way that the child wants them to. You will notice that at this age, the child may create a lot of repetitive marks. You will notice a lot of circles, diagonal lines, curved lines, and horizontal lines. As they approach their second birthday, you may also notice that the crayon is now held between the thumb and pointer finger rather than in a fist as it was before.

Formation of patterns and drawing of lines

Between the age of two and a half and three and a half, kids become fully aware of the fact that writing requires lines, curve s, and certain patterns. Especially if they’re already familiar with letters and their forms from children’s books or other educational games, you may notice that they’ll start to copy and paste the forms they’ve seen into their writing. The writing process begins with creating separate elements of certain letters in the kids’ drawing. This is them trying to imitate the letters. At this stage, it’s also common for children to create their own letters. This is an important phase for the development and creativity and shouldn’t worry you, soon enough they’ll become familiar with the alphabet.


When they’ve reached the 3-year old mark, children will be able to look at a picture of an object or a person and recreate it in their own way. Most kids even start signing their masterpieces with a signature that won’t necessarily include any real letters. As they approach the age of four and five, children start creating plans for their art before actually starting the drawing. They’ll be able to pay attention to more details and have full control over the crayon or drawing material. The most prevailing form in children’s drawing is the circle so it’s natural to see a lot of irregular circles.

Remember, the way a child perceives an object or person from a picture is quite different to what we see as adults. Let your little one’s imagination run wild and embrace with approval every drawing they show you. They’ll love sharing different stories from their drawings with you. This is a very special bonding moment between the child and the parent as it forms a relationship based on trust and sharing.

Letter formation practicing

Also between the age of three and five is the time when kids start practicing the formation of letters and the creation of words. The first experiments with letters are usually those when children start to write their own names as they are the ones most familiar to them. They will also pay more attention to the actual forms that make up a letter and start recreating them on paper. The existence of symbols in words also becomes apparent to children during this stage.

How can you help your child become interested in art and writing?

There is so much that you can do as a parent to ensure that your little one’s interest towards art and writing is triggered at a younger age. Of course, it all starts with setting aside free time to spend with your child and introduce them to the magical world of drawing and writing.

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You can start off by making a habit of indulging in art on a regular basis. This could happen naturally by adding a bit or art in playtime. Kids love to play and as long as everything is presented to them in the form of a game, they’ll be interested in it. Make sure your kid has access to a range of different crayons, pencils, and markers that you can easily wash away afterwards. You can use paper bags for the drawing process. Take out colored paper or buy a special drawing mat or board for the creativity to burst out on. You can also experiment with washable paints, scissors and glue that are kids-safe, and other fun materials.

Keep in mind that kids know no boundaries when it comes to art. You can expect to see a masterpiece on your walls, furniture, and carpets if you don’t supervise the art activities. Even if that happens, make sure you’ve invested in easy to clean drawing materials so that you don’t have to refurbish everything around the house later.

Enjoy quality time with your little one

The best part about art and kids is that there is no need for instructions. Children’s imagination is rich enough to allow them to create different forms and elements alone, without any direction or guidance from parents. All you have to do is be next to them in this fun and special moment and support them every step of the way. Don’t try to tell them that something they’ve drawn doesn’t look like the object they’re describing. Instead, try to look at the world from their perspective and watch as they grow and start to form more sophisticated and realistic art and writing.

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