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We all love making our little ones feel like a star and nurturing their creative instincts. That’s why one of the most enjoyable and rewarding parts of being a parent is getting to hang your child’s drawing up on the refrigerator.
Drawing is certainly entertaining for kids since they get to basically ‘sketch their thoughts’. In this article, we put together a helpful list of drawing ideas for kids which you can use.
Before going through the activities though, let’s go over some of the benefits of drawing.
Benefits of Drawing for Your Kid
Not only is drawing a fun activity for kids, but it’s a helpful one as well! Encouraging children to draw and giving them the tools and ideas they need will benefit them in the short and long run. Here are 4 examples of these developmental benefits.
Fine motor skills refer to how well the tiny muscles in our hands and wrists work together with our eyes to do exactly what we want them to. This is a skill that takes a lot of training for kids, and drawing is a great way to do just that.
Using a marker or a piece of chalk gives children immediate feedback on how well they are able to coordinate their fingers with what they’d like to draw. Through practice, they will get better and better, improving their control over those small muscles.
Eventually, this will help them with writing, using a computer, and even driving a toy car.
Drawing with your child is a great way to improve concentration because most children naturally love to draw. You already have their attention at the beginning, so you’re off to a great start!
The task of drawing encourages kids to think about what they want and then work at making that picture happen. If your child loves cars and wants to draw one, they have to focus on what a car looks like, what colors it is, and how they can represent it on the page. The whole drawing process teaches them concentration, which will be a great help in the classroom.
Completing a drawing is a natural chance for your child to show off something that they’re proud of. On top of that, when you give them affirmation and praise, their self confidence will get an extra boost and they will be encouraged to draw again and again.
Putting your child’s drawing up on the fridge or on a bulletin board will constantly remind them that you’re proud of them. They will begin to feel confident in their abilities for all activities, not just drawing.
Drawing might seem like an easy thing where you simply pick up a pencil and start making your picture on paper, but our brains are actually doing a lot of problem solving to make it happen. This is especially true for young kids.
When kids draw or make art, they must first think of a picture or an idea in their mind. Then, they translate that idea from their mind into something on a piece of paper. The picture on the paper represents what was first in their head.
This process is actually quite remarkable! It helps kids problem-solve and think in abstract ways that can benefit almost every other aspect of their lives.
With these benefits in mind, here’s the list of 15 drawing ideas for children of various ages.
1. Hand Tracing Animals
With a marker or a pen, help your child trace around the edges of their hand to look like an animal and then color it. Most people know the classic turkey shape, but there are all sorts of other animals you can make!
Some more ideas are:
- Duck – Trace your child’s hand flat, with the fingers together and the thumb held out. Like the way you would shake someone’s hand. The fingers are the tail feathers and the thumb is the head!
- Crab – Have your child put one hand face down on the paper. Spread their fingers out to look like the right legs of the crab, and then trace. Repeat this same process to draw the left legs. Finally, connect the two sides and draw the the eye stalks!
(PS: If you want more examples of animals to hand trace, checkout this step-by-step video.)
2. Tandem Drawing
Tandem drawing is when you and your child draw on the same page at the same time. Tandem drawing may also be called “sharing drawing” or “family drawing.” Depending on the age and interests of your child, there are different ways to set up a tandem drawing activity. Here are two ideas:
- Very young artists may enjoy scribbling colorful doodles on the page while you do the same. Don’t worry about the final product looking a certain way — the bigger point is to encourage your little one to sit with their crayons or markers and practice drawing.
- Children who are a little older may enjoy imagining and creating a picture with you. Perhaps you draw a building on one side of the page and your child draws cars, buses, and roads on the other side of the page. Working together, you create a cityscape.
It may be helpful to use a larger sheet of paper (e.g. larger than 8 x 11″) when tandem drawing to be sure you both have enough space to spread out your artwork. Some families find it useful to keep a large roll of drawing paper on hand for all sorts of art projects, including tandem drawing.
Tandem drawing is a wonderful drawing activity to model creativity and imagination while bonding with your child.
3. Watercolors with Edge Tracing
Get out the watercolors if you’re not afraid to get a little messy! Children love the pretty colors, and they’re much easier to clean up than more permanent paints like acrylics or oils. (And watercolor paints easily wash out of clothes, whereas most acrylics and oil paints do not).
A fun activity is to take turns with your child. One of you paints with the watercolors and the other traces the edge of where the paint stops with a pen or marker. If you have a young child, have them start with the watercolor painting while you trace the edges.
This drawing activity creates pretty shapes and encourages fine motor skills and concentration.
4. Body Tracing with Chalk
Most people think of drawing as an indoor activity, but there are plenty of ways to draw while enjoying the outdoors. Take a bucket of chalk out onto the driveway and let your child draw in the sun!
Try tracing each other’s body with the chalk. This will give your child something specific to focus on and might teach them a little about sitting still for a minute when it’s their turn to get traced.
5. Coloring from a Digital Coloring Book
There are hundreds of free and printable coloring pages available online. A simple Google search of your child’s current favorite things plus “coloring pages” should get you plenty to work with.
After your child colors-in the pages, ask them to draw extra things in the margins. For example, after coloring in a puppy, your child may draw a kitten for the puppy to play with. Many coloring pages don’t include a background, so your child could draw the setting, such as clouds, trees, flowers, and so on.
6. Print Out Their Favorite Superhero or Character to Trace
Superheroes and characters are everywhere, and your child almost certainly has a favorite one. Doing a search online for something like “Spiderman Coloring Pages” or “Paw Patrol Coloring Pages” will give you dozens of options to choose from.
You can lay a sheet of paper on top of the printed character and have your child trace the lines. This way, they are practicing drawing their favorite character first, and then can color it in afterward.
Thinking up who they want to draw can be just as much fun as the drawing itself, so be sure to ask your child before making the choice for them.
7. Draw on a Mirror
Here’s another chance to get your child drawing outside. Take a cheap mirror and either prop it against something or lay it flat on the ground, then let your child get to work!
Drawing on a mirror is fun for kids because it’s so much different from what they’re used to. Seeing themselves and their surroundings in the reflection adds a unique element that will entertain them for a long time. Use something like dry-erase markers or a chalk marker to draw on the glass without making it permanent.
Finish-the-Drawing is a great drawing game to get your child thinking abstractly. Start by drawing a general shape, like a squiggle. Then have your child complete the squiggle into something familiar or recognizable.
Take turns being the one who starts so that your child gets to experience both sides of the activity. Because this activity only requires a pen and paper, it’s an easy way to pass the time when waiting at a restaurant or the doctor’s office.
9. Monster Flipbook
The modular monster flipbook is a drawing activity and an art project.
Start by stacking a few sheets of paper together and cutting them into thirds, but not all the way to the edge. Then, staple the sheets together along the uncut edge. You will now have a flipbook with three sections.
Have your child draw the head, body, and legs of a monster each on a different section. When they are finished, they can flip each individual section to mix and match their monsters!
10. Draw What You See
Have your child draw whatever may be right in front of them. It could be as near as what’s on the table or as far away as what’s outside the window. As long as they can see it, it’s fair game!
This activity promotes representational drawing and an understanding of perspective. Your child will have to figure out how to draw and relate things that exist in three-dimensional space onto a two-dimensional piece of paper.
11. Family Portraits
Not only are hand-drawn family portraits a nice drawing prompt, they make great gifts as well! Work with your child on drawing everybody in the family. Help them get started by drawing the outlines of particular family members such as grandma and grandpa, and then let your child draw in the rest of their features. These could be their hair styles or their favorite outfits.
Then either give them away the next time you see them or send them in the mail. Your child will have a fun time drawing and everybody will love getting their portrait. Your child might learn a little bit about snail mail while they’re at it
12. Make Your Own Comic Book
Making a comic book combines drawing with storytelling. Your child will get to think about a story they want to tell, maybe including their favorite superhero or character or the family pet, and then draw the scenes that tell that story.
This activity will not only entertain your child, but will encourage them to think critically and creatively about how stories are told. You can help them get started using a blank comic book which includes several useful templates.
13. Draw With a Photo
Try printing out a photo of anything your child is interested in. Maybe their favorite vacation spot, their favorite animal, their favorite car — anything can work. Then cut the image in half and have your child draw the missing half. This activity gives children a starting point if they’re not in the mood to create something from scratch.
14. Holiday/Birthday Cards
Much like the family portraits, everyone loves a handmade card. If any birthdays or holidays are coming up, have your child create a greeting card with a note to go along with it. If it’s a birthday, suggest your child draws themself standing next to the family member with a birthday cake in the middle. If it’s a holiday card, your little one may enjoy drawing a Thanksgiving turkey or a Christmas tree stocked with presents. Cardstock paper tends to work best because it is sturdy and markers do not usually bleed through from one side to another.
15. Color-Swapped Drawing
Sometimes the “rules” of art can feel limiting to children. The sky is blue, the grass is green, so on and so forth. To encourage creativity and imaginative fun, let your preschooler know that they can make things any color they want! For example, tell your child that the sky can be orange, purple, or blue. The grass can be pink or gray or any other color they choose it to be!
This kind of drawing activity will help your child understand that they are free to express themselves through their art.
Their drawings are their own and they can think outside the box to make whatever they may want.
Drawing with your child is a great way to entertain them. Use the above drawing ideas to jump-start the process and get them thinking creatively. Not only will they love engaging in these drawing activities, but they’ll learn valuable lessons like fine motor skills and problem solving along the way!
If you’d like to learn about teaching colors to your child to improve their drawing abilities, check out our previous blog.