Drawing, scribbling and writing: why it’s good for children
Drawing and scribbling lay the foundations for handwriting. Handwriting starts with scribbling and drawing then moves on to forming letters and words.
You can encourage your child to develop an interest in handwriting by giving him opportunities to draw, scribble and write. This prepares him for the formal handwriting he’ll learn at school.
Handwriting is a complex skill that takes time to learn. To learn handwriting, children need to combine fine motor skills, language, memory and concentration. They also need to practise and follow instructions.
What you need for drawing, scribbling and writing with your child
Set up your child at a table with some chunky crayons, pencils or markers, as well as some paper or card.
It’s best for your child to draw and write sitting at a table. The stable, flat surface can make it easier for your child to draw, and it also encourages your child to hold the crayon or pencil correctly.
How to do drawing, scribbling and writing activities with your child
Give your child lots of opportunities to draw and write. This helps your child develop the skills she needs for handwriting.
Here are some ideas:
- Have drawing materials handy so that your child can draw and scribble any time he feels like it. You can even take materials with you when you go out.
- Encourage your child to sit at a table to draw. You can put a cushion on your child’s chair so that her elbows are just above the height of the table. This makes it easier for her to hold the crayon or pencil.
- Let your child decide what to draw or write. Any practice he gets holding a crayon or pencil and drawing pictures, lines or circles helps him with learning to write.
- Talk with your child about her drawing or writing – for example, ‘Tell me about your picture’. Praise your child’s efforts, even if her ‘writing’ or ‘drawing’ is more like scribble – for example, ‘Well done! That looks like an ‘M’ and a ‘W’. Great writing’.
- Encourage your child to sign his work, even if it’s just the first letter of his name or a scribble. Then write his name underneath so he gets used to seeing it.
- Display your child’s work. For example, put it on the fridge and point it out to people who visit.
Adapting drawing, scribbling and writing activities for children of different ages
Make sure your younger child has thick chunky crayons to draw with until she’s developed the finger and thumb grip she needs to hold a thin pencil.
Help your older child to write words to go with a drawing. He might want to write a story or write people’s names underneath their pictures. If your child is just learning to write, you could also ask whether he wants to write a letter or help you write the shopping list.