During my observation at a childcare center, I recalled seeing a 20 month old boy holding on to a jumbo crayon, scribbling away on a piece of paper. After he scribbled a few lines, he changed the colours of the crayon and continued to fill up the paper until he was satisfied.

He smiled as he came up to the teacher and handed the paper to her. The boy then pointed to his drawing and said ‘Monkey! Monkey!’ Even though she was unable to recognize his drawing, the teacher praised and commended the boy for a job well done and that the monkey was colourful.

making sense of kids drawings

Scribbling toddlers: The beginnings of an artist

As we know, children begin to draw at a very young age even if it is just lines and scribbles. Since toddlerhood, they display signs of making marks literally everywhere; on papers, books and sometimes even on walls! They need to experience this scribbling stage before proceeding on to further developments. Sadly, scribbling is sometimes often viewed in a negative light by some parents and teachers. We misunderstand that scribbling is aimless or meaningless. Ironically, it is the first stage of development for drawing, which is closely linked to writing.

From the above observation, we can say that children from ages 1 to 2 are able make different types of marks that may be unrecognizable to most adults. Even though we may not recognize their, it is essential for us to appreciate their drawings and to encourage toddlers to explore a variety of writing materials which are age-appropriate.

Also, it is natural for most toddlers to use their palms to hold on to crayons as they engage in their doodles. Hence, jumbo-sized crayon and color pencils are necessary.

Tip for parents:

Keep a few of your child’s drawings and note the differences in his or her scribblings / drawings over time. You will be amazed by the vast difference to a drawing of a similar object. Appreciate your child’s drawings and see it as a tool of exploration and experimentation. You can show this by framing up some of your child’s doodles and scribbles at home. Great for keepsake and memorabilia as well.

Get those crayons and colour pencils and start scribbling away with your little one today!

By Afiqah and Michelle