How To Teach Kids To Draw

How To Teach Kids To Draw

Teaching your child how to draw can be your first step towards incorporating art into his life. Studies show that children who invest in producing artwork have an all-rounded brain development. Not only does it give children an outlet to express themselves, but it also helps with developing their hand-eye coordination and teaches them important concepts such as the colour wheel, proportion, perspective, balance, and much more.


Apart from building important physical traits, child psychologists over the years have recommended drawing and artwork to help develop your young one’s EQ or emotional quotient. This can play a significant role in the preservation and stable development of your child’s mental health. Art has proved to be a natural way of treating depression and anxiety in adults and children with artistic abilities are known to be less prone to these diseases.


Some child psychiatrists have found that art and drawing, in particular, could speed up the development of your child’s brain. Art is a well-known way of helping young children with autism and other diseases. It builds coping mechanisms in children to control their day to day activities. Drawing is also known to help children with learning difficulties like dyslexia or dysgraphia, overcome or manage these challenges. It is important to understand that art isn’t a treatment for these diseases. It is instead a useful tool to help with the overall treatment and works as a support system for these children on a regular basis. Parents should also remember not to get frustrated with the pace of artistic development in their kids. Each child has his own pace of growth and expression.

Learning how to draw should be a fun activity for your child and he shouldn’t feel that the skill or habit is forced upon him. Make sure you do not demand your child to draw when he’s not in the mood for it. Instead, make it a part of his routine and try to build it in an organic and fun way. Here is a guide that you can use when teaching your child how to draw to ensure he develops the skill of drawing without becoming either demotivated or pressured.

Tips To Teach Kids To Draw – Age Wise

One of the most important things that you must keep in mind when teaching your child how to draw is to give them space and the tools for them to explore art and drawing. Young children tend to be curious and try to express themselves in unique ways that can be easily misunderstood as incapacity or lack of skill. The trick is to keep them engaged with the activity long enough for it to have a positive impact. You should tackle this based on the age of your child.

Young boy drawing

1. Two Years – Five Years Old

Teaching pre-schoolers how to draw might seem like a difficult task, but the aim here is to encourage the child to explore whatever it is that he wants to through the medium of art and drawing. A few tips that you can keep in mind are:

  • Incorporate art and drawing into play-time. Make it an experience that your child with associate with fun.
  • Set up the space for success by removing any sources of frustrations. Have an outfit ready that your child can get dirty and lay down newspapers on the floor.
  • Your child will be excited by everything new at this young age. Do not limit your child to only drawing tools. Instead, let him use chalk, sand, and paint to express himself and to understand objects.
  • Do not teach your child how to draw. Instead, let him make all the decisions. If he wants to draw himself with pink hair, then do not correct him. Instead, praise his efforts and talk to him about what he has drawn.
  • Use the observations to ask your child questions about what he has drawn. This will help your child with his story-telling capabilities and might even revise or add to the drawing.
  • Art can be a great way to deal with emotions that your child finds too difficult to express or process. If your child is angry, ask him to make an angry picture.
  • Showcase his drawings to encourage his practice. Remember, it is not the finished product that we are after, but to help associate good feelings towards art.

Children learning to draw

2. Five Years – Nine Years Old

At this age, your child can now start drawing based on observation. Up until now, he will be drawing based on his own interpretation and previous knowledge. You can help with his observational skills based on the tips below.

  • Give your children new objects for them to draw. Choose objects that they are attached to and have a simple geometry. Something like his favourite sippy cup or toy would serve best.
  • Ask your child what shapes he observes in different objects. Sit with him when he draws and discuss the shapes before he starts to draw.
  • Encourage your child to not look down too much at the paper while drawing. Help him realise that the outcome is less important than learning the right techniques.
  • As before, ask questions about his drawings that will lead him to think more on the matter or observe some things that he has not seen before.
  • During this age, encourage the use of one medium at a time. This will let your child understand what he prefers and the full range and possibilities of the medium.
  • Keep his drawings in a special book that he can maintain himself. Better yet, you can encourage him to start a project which tells a whole story in the form of a picture book.
  • Do not draw on his papers to explain a technique. It is best that he explores different options on his own.
  • Do not force him to make observational drawings. You can instead, have him make one such drawing a week. All that matters is for him to understand the different concepts of this style of illustration.

Young girl drawing

3. Nine Years – Eleven Years Old

Your child, at this stage, will be able to grasp more complex concepts. This includes spatial relationships, perspective, and tougher mediums.

  • As opposed to just the object, talk to your child about the placement of the said object. Are there other objects overlapping it? What is it placed on? Where is the object placed?
  • This is a great time to understand proportions and drawing. He can draw several objects of different sizes placed next to each other. He can also start to draw and understand the human anatomy by drawing himself by looking in a mirror or get someone to pose for him.
  • Your child might get discouraged by the end result of his drawing. Be sure to remind him that drawing is about practice on a regular basis and that he should focus on the process rather than the results.
  • Be sure to expose him to different forms of art and different drawing expressions. Take him to museums and art exhibitions and encourage him to talk about what he sees there. Developing a sharp and critical mind will help him in various fields.
  • You can have a weekly drawing challenge for your child. This should be fun and challenging enough to keep him engrossed. You could take him for a trip to the park and give him a time frame in which he has to draw anything that he observes there. He could also draw one thing that he observes at school. Keep the challenges light and focused.

Responding To Your Child’s Drawing Work

Children look towards adults for validation of their work and behaviour and it is important that you do so. However, it is equally important that you give them the tools to understand and comprehend their sense of self as well. Be sure not to criticise anything that your child has drawn. In this stage of their lives, they need all the support and encouragement. Instead, point out certain aspects of the drawing that they have done particularly well. Your main critique should be focused on the growth of your child’s abilities rather than a commentary on the end product.

If your child does not feel support or encouragement, he might begin to lose interest in the activity. Be sure to follow the previous tip of displaying his drawings or to maintain a book filled with his work. A common sign of fear of drawing is if the drawing is too small. Ask him to fill an entire page of a single small object, like a shoe, and encourage his work. Give enough of your time to his hobby by asking questions and be genuinely interested in his process and progress.

Praise your child's work

Benefits Of Drawing For Kids

There have been many studies done by educators and researchers over the years to establish the link between developmental benefits and drawing. This art form is beneficial to adults and children alike but has more to offer when started at a young age. Here is a list of benefits of drawing for kids.

  • Drawing helps develop fine motor skills. There are many tools that your child can use when drawing. You should encourage your child to use thick markers, thin pencils, crayons and finger paints. Being a visual medium, your child will get immediate feedback on the technique he uses with these tools and he can later make adjustments accordingly.
  • Drawing helps establish concentration. As soon as your child gets into the groove of drawing, he will get immersed in the practice. If he enjoys his time drawing, then learning how to concentrate for long periods of time will be easy.
  • Drawing helps improve hand-eye coordination. This skill is important to develop as it is key when exploring other activities. Good hand-eye coordination is important when playing sports and other physical activities.
  • Drawing helps increase confidence. As your child develops his skills in drawing, he can set small goals for himself. Achieving these goals will help boost your child’s confidence.
  • Drawing helps with problem-solving. It is important to learn how to plan for drawing. From the placement to the subject to the medium, everything will play a part in the drawing and hence must be thought of. And even with preparation, there will be changes that will be needed and this will require quick thinking.
  • Art encourages visual analysis. Drawing can be effective only when the basic tenets of visual analysis are mastered. Essential concepts such as perspective, distance, size, and texture can be learnt by drawing.

Teaching your child how to draw should be a joyous and rewarding experience for your child. Understand your child’s opinion about drawing and never force them into getting into a new stage of drawing. Once they have developed a love for the practice, they will follow a path and pace that they find comfortable. You only have to give them a few nudges along the way to ensure that they pick up on all aspects of the art. Do take time to make drawing a fun activity that is beyond just a learning activity. When spending time with your child, add visits to museums and galleries. If your family likes to travel, be sure to visit galleries even on holidays. Take your child to gallery openings and discuss art with him like you would with anyone else.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that drawing should not be something that adds pressure or tension to your child’s life. Manage your expectations and teach your child how to manage his. Encourage his hobby no matter what the result is. Having hobbies that allow a creative outlet is more important than being perfect at it. Remember to consult a child psychologist for more information about how art can help your child specifically and the techniques and points you must keep in mind when teaching them to draw.