On drawing stick figures... - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 17 Old 06-09-2009, 03:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My ds (4 yo) doesn't seem the least bit interested in anything like that. Last Oct at his yearly doc visit one of the developmental milestones was "does he draw stick figures?" I admitted that he does not - that he has lots of access to paper, crayons, paints, etc and that we allow him to create what he wants. The nurse looked at me like I had six heads and muttered something like "no opportunity." I wanted to argue the point, it's not that he doesn't have the opportunity, it's just that he hasn't wanted to. I'm not in the habit of telling ds what he has to draw or directing his artwork in anyway...preferring instead that he goes where he wants to with it.

Still...the slight worry has stuck with me. He's nearing 4 1/2 years old now and still no stick figures in sight. Usually his artwork as a theme - all straight lines or all circles, or all dots, etc, etc. Sometimes he makes faces by gluing pom poms together. He's seen me draw stick figures when we sit down and draw together (well, separately, but together). But the thing is...I don't ever sit down and say "draw x" or "do this". To me it seems a bit silly.

I tend to figure that most kids his age (who go to preschool or 4K or even kindergarten) may at one point or another been told to draw something specific or shown "how" to draw stick figures. But then again, I have no personal experience with this. So I've wondered...do children draw stick figures at some point spontaneously? Is it really that important for a child to do it by x age? When did your 4-5 year old begin drawing stick figures?
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#2 of 17 Old 06-09-2009, 03:59 PM
 
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okay well I read this and then called my very on task and ahead in many areas 6.5 year old DD over and asked her to draw me a stick figure that was it.. She drew a stick I then asked her to daw me a person the did with arms legs feet finger toes knees head hair eyes eye brows eyelashes ect... I then just because showed her what a stick figure looked lieks she jsut went ohh that I like mine better mommy.

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#3 of 17 Old 06-09-2009, 04:33 PM
 
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This is a developmental milestone?

What will doctors think of next? Anything they can to make a mom think she's done something wrong or not enough...

SANDRA, 41 year old VERY laid-back mama to VERY free range kids Brett (16), Justus (11), Autumn (4), and Ayla (1)... four perfect NCB's! :::
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#4 of 17 Old 06-09-2009, 08:30 PM
 
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It's a developmental milestone in that it demonstrates a child's ability to produce 'representational' objects. This in turn is related to cognitive development because it's related to the child's ability to conceptualize the world. Stick figures are the most common things that children draw, but that doesn't mean it has to be the only thing.

This is a good outline of the process:
http://www.education.com/magazine/ar...estones_Whats/

That being said, I don't think that ds ever drew a stick figure until 1st grade, and then he did it for some sort of assignment. Ds isn't an 'art' kid. He did have fine motor delays and sensory issues, and so actively avoided art for a long time. But even when he started representational drawing in K, it was always of objects. Two objects to be precise: Firetrucks and buses. We have folder of about 50 drawings of these two vehicles from K. Even today, he doesn't draw for pleasure. He'll do 'art' if he has to, but he'd rather write.

Dd, on the other hand LOVES to draw and draw very detailed people beyond her developmental stage.

So, as long as your son begins to do some sort of representational depictions by 5 or 6, I wouldn't worry too much.

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#5 of 17 Old 06-10-2009, 12:14 AM
 
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Neither of my boys (not quite 4 1/2) draw people yet, in any fashion. They are not considered delayed for anything else, so I'm not worried. They've got access to lots of materials, but that's not what they chose to create.

Twin boys (2/05) and little sister (10/07)
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#6 of 17 Old 06-10-2009, 04:02 AM
 
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Originally Posted by SandraS View Post
This is a developmental milestone?

What will doctors think of next? Anything they can to make a mom think she's done something wrong or not enough...
I agree. For the record, DS at 4 would draw circles, lines, scribbles... that's it. And usually only in black or blue. He just was not interested in color or representational anything. Then he started to draw repeating patterns - a lot of dots or lines, and 5 million drawings with X's all over them. But never a stick person. And if he actually did draw anything representational, then as soon as he was done, or as soon as he saw someone looking at what he was doing, he would cross the thing out with big X's.

When DS was 4.5, I drew a typical childlike face in the snow - circle, 2 eyes, mouth, squiggly hair. Not 5 minutes later, DS had walked around the house and drawn the exact same thing - even with the squiggly hair. And then when he saw that I saw it, he covered it in a big X. Two weeks after that he drew a picture of him, DD and DSS all standing together, holding hands - head, all features, bodies, arms, legs.... the whole bit. My point is he did it - WHEN HE WAS READY. Not when anyone else was ready. WHEN HE WAS INTERESTED. Not when anyone else was interested. It is his personality. He is a perfectionist, and I don't think he wanted to draw a stick figure until he decided he could do it perfectly.

Like every other milestone, it is only one of a bunch. If your DC is not meeting any, or very few, then it is maybe a warning flag. If your DC doesn't meet one random milestone, it doesn't mean tiddly-squat.
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#7 of 17 Old 06-10-2009, 12:00 PM
 
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Originally Posted by LynnS6 View Post
It's a developmental milestone in that it demonstrates a child's ability to produce 'representational' objects. This in turn is related to cognitive development because it's related to the child's ability to conceptualize the world. Stick figures are the most common things that children draw, but that doesn't mean it has to be the only thing.
This is what I have been told as well. Additionally, my son's OT told me that drawing a person helps children understand how their body parts fit together. Even if a child can accurately identify their own body parts, they may not fully understand how the parts go together. For example, she said that many children will draw a person with the arms coming out of the head, because the don't really understand how their arms are attached to their body. As a result, some children with motor difficulties show improvement when they learn to accurately draw a person with the parts in the right place. I don't know if this is a factor for kids without motor problems.

My son, who is 5 and has ASD, does not do any representational drawing. He can draw a square, a triangle and a rectangle, but he cannot draw these shapes together to look like a house. He can draw a circle, a rectangle, and a square, but he cannot draw a truck using these shapes. He definately cannot draw a person. So he has representational drawing as goal on his IEP. He will learn to draw simple pictures out of shapes he already knows and to draw a person with 10 identifiable parts.

My niece, who is 4 and typically developing, draws very detailed and elaborate pictures of people and animals. So drawing at this age varies a lot from child to child.

Lolly
Mom to an amazing little guy, age 9 (Autism, Hyperlexia, Dyspraxia, Albinism, Chromosome Microdeletion)

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#8 of 17 Old 06-10-2009, 01:56 PM
 
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DS, who is "normal", did not draw at all until he started drawing vehicles around 4.5. He finally started drawing people after 5 when his 3yo sister started doing the same thing. He LOVES drawing, he draws daily, he draws really elaborate scenes with the strangest details, but he still does not prefer to draw people. He's 9 now.

When he was not drawing people at his 4 year well check, the ped shrugged and said, "Some kids aren't into drawing." And DS wasn't until after 5.

DD1 and DD2 have drawn really elaborate people since they were each around 3.5. This makes me think girl/boy thing, but then I have to remember that my sample set is limited to three, so who knows.
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#9 of 17 Old 06-10-2009, 02:21 PM
 
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I have worked with litterally hundreds of four year olds in the past.

They ALL go through a drawing process. It starts with scribbling. (obviously)

Then circles.

Then lines.

Then, the stick figures... nobody shows them, it just happens.

Yes, by four, most can draw the stick figures, but not all even care. I have a boy who is going into kindergarten this fall, and he could care less about drawing. But he can build hotwheel ramps that would impress an engineer. His block bridges are fantastic.

I wouldn't teach him to draw. Just give him the stuff to draw with, and magnadoodles, and sidewalk chalk then let him take over.
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#10 of 17 Old 06-10-2009, 02:23 PM
 
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(I think I'm glad I quit taking my kids in a looong time ago for well-baby/well-child visits. Seems to me some of the things docs say, that I read on here, are silly.

JMO, of course.)

SANDRA, 41 year old VERY laid-back mama to VERY free range kids Brett (16), Justus (11), Autumn (4), and Ayla (1)... four perfect NCB's! :::
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#11 of 17 Old 06-10-2009, 02:49 PM
 
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My 3 yr. old (almost 3.5) draws people as a big circle head with eyes and a mouth, legs, and hair. Sometimes arms and sometimes clothes. He also likes to draw spiders and caterpillars. Sometimes they have hair.

My 6 yr. old didn't draw people until 4.5 or 5 though. He loves to draw now. I wouldn't worry about it, he probably could if he tried. If you're worried, why not ask him to do it? It's not a big deal to a kid to have an adult say, "Hey, why don't you draw me a picture of _____?"
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#12 of 17 Old 06-10-2009, 03:55 PM
 
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I had a slight freak out when my oldest was 3 and we'd been to a checkup and he couldn't draw a circle. I was so worried that he was "behind" because I'd never seen him draw one. Of course he could, he just had no interest. And I did ask him to once we got home, he did it and I relaxed and left him alone about what he drew.
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#13 of 17 Old 06-10-2009, 04:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by octobermom View Post
okay well I read this and then called my very on task and ahead in many areas 6.5 year old DD over and asked her to draw me a stick figure that was it.. She drew a stick I then asked her to daw me a person the did with arms legs feet finger toes knees head hair eyes eye brows eyelashes ect... I then just because showed her what a stick figure looked lieks she jsut went ohh that I like mine better mommy.
Your dd's reaction made me laugh.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LynnS6 View Post
It's a developmental milestone in that it demonstrates a child's ability to produce 'representational' objects. This in turn is related to cognitive development because it's related to the child's ability to conceptualize the world. Stick figures are the most common things that children draw, but that doesn't mean it has to be the only thing.

This is a good outline of the process:
http://www.education.com/magazine/ar...estones_Whats/
This is sort of along the lines of what I found yesterday while doing some reading. Which seems only further proof of the limitation of checklist mentalities. It's sort of like, well why didn't you just say that? (It also shows the limitation of the comuterized record where there's no space to provide explanation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nextcommercial View Post
Then, the stick figures... nobody shows them, it just happens.

Yes, by four, most can draw the stick figures, but not all even care. I have a boy who is going into kindergarten this fall, and he could care less about drawing. But he can build hotwheel ramps that would impress an engineer. His block bridges are fantastic.
Interesting... I do have to say ds is an avid builder with blocks and train tracks. I find it fascinating to watch as he figures it all out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SandraS View Post
(I think I'm glad I quit taking my kids in a looong time ago for well-baby/well-child visits. Seems to me some of the things docs say, that I read on here, are silly.

JMO, of course.)
This is actually why we go to very few of them - mostly as a CYA kind of thing. Sometimes it seems kind of paranoid to me to do so, but I figure you just never know. I'm usually fairly confident in our choices/path. It always surprises me what sticks with me from encounters like that.

This discussion has been so fascinating. I'm glad I asked.
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#14 of 17 Old 06-11-2009, 02:07 PM
 
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Originally Posted by pampered_mom View Post
This is sort of along the lines of what I found yesterday while doing some reading. Which seems only further proof of the limitation of checklist mentalities. It's sort of like, well why didn't you just say that? (It also shows the limitation of the comuterized record where there's no space to provide explanation.
Indeed, but what it points to is that the person who was doing the 'checklist' didn't understand the reasoning behind that item. Really, it's a lack of education. So, when your answer didn't match up with what she was expecting, she was flummoxed and she couldn't figure out how to follow up.

I run into this a lot with certain students - they don't understand why they should learn the information BEHIND the 'checklist' (or 'cookbook' as my colleagues and I derogatorily call them). Maybe it's because your students won't have read the manual and don't always respond as they're supposed to?

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#15 of 17 Old 06-11-2009, 03:45 PM
 
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My developmentally normal, intelligent 8yo never drew stick figures. He rarely draws people, in fact. He draws a myriad of other objects, but not people. It's never dawned on me to be concerned about this.

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#16 of 17 Old 06-11-2009, 06:56 PM
 
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I think it's normal to draw them, but I wouldn't be concerned. He'll draw them when he wants to.
I wish doctors looked at the whole picture- not one or two milestones.

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#17 of 17 Old 06-11-2009, 09:33 PM
 
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DS1 is very artistic. At about 14 months, he drew a recognizable shark. Now, he draws superheroes that are as well drawn as most of what I see in the comics (actually - better than a lot of it, but I think modern comic art mostly sucks). He's created aliens, and characters, and recently completed a school assignment for "Planning", by drawing a comic strip featuring himself (this was a "this is what my future will look like" kind of thing...as he was portraying himself as a comic artist, he completed it as a comic). Except for a band logo he created in 7th or 8th grade, I don't think I ever saw him draw anything resembling a stick figure.

DD draws fairies, princesses, families of all kinds, Halloween themes, Christmas themes, etc. etc. etc. She draws tons of things. She could draw several letters, including her name, before she was three (can't remember exactly, because I really don't care, yk?). I've never seen her draw a stick figure, either.

As for ds2? He's almost four. He doesn't draw. He'll pick up a marker or crayon, and make a squiggle, then he gets bored. He's just not into it. I'm not worried about it from a developmental standpoint, because he's just not interested. I can't make him want to draw, yk?

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