So today I told ds we were going to draw on a big cardboard box that I had flattened out.
Both of the kidsw had a blast! Ds wanted me to draw, too, so I drew, but then it turned into him drawing and having me label his pictures. He did a frog and a truck this way, and as an added bonus he had a good time sounding out the spelling of each word as I wrote it. (He thinks reading/decoding/phonics/spelling is this really cool puzzle-ish game that we do. It's definitely not work to him.)
This is his picture from 2 days before I posted (his is on the left, his sister's in the one next to it)
And this is what he did today, with the big open space of the box:
I think this is big, because the second one, you can see where he drew circles for wheels,, on the truck, also the frog looks like rectangle but the two parallel lines were originally legs, then he "closed" them with that other line, telling me it needed a butt.
Habitat, you gave me a great idea. we live near a contemporary art museum. I'm sure there is some abstract work there, and maybe seeing "scribbles" hanging up in a museum would be encouraging to him. We definitely do talk in detail about his block creations and all his artwork. He loves playdough and has the same issue with that...wanting to create things but not having the dexterity to produce what he envisioned.
Very blessed mama to one bouncin' boy (12/07) one who didn't get to stay (6/09), one potty learning, mess making diva(4/10), and one cheerful milk monster. (12/11) Happy partner to the love of my life.
My ds is a couple of months older than your ds and his drawing skills sound pretty much the same. He generally just scribbles, but can write the letters of his name if I coach him through it, and likewise will draw a person or animal if I coach him through it ("draw a circle for the face. ok, now he needs two eyes. and a nose?" etc). The basic shapes consist of wonky circles and lines.
My dd could write and draw somewhat better at that age (though nothing spectacular). I chalked it up to fine motor skill development differences between boys and girls.
Kate, mom to 7 year old Djuna and 4 yr old Alden. Missing our good friend Hal the cat who died June 2, 2010
I haven't had a chance to read all of the replies but thought I would quickly chime in. My ds is 5.5 years old and his drawings now are pretty cool...however, he didn't draw anything recognizable until 4.5 years old. All he would do were scribbles. I was actually getting worried about him because he seemed interested in art but never actually drew anything. We decided not to worry about it. We would talk about colour or shape or pattern. We would have fun drawing zigzags or swirls or mixing paint to produce new colours. We would talk about lines - thick, thin, wavy. I also stopped drawing with him. I would sit beside him and play with the elements I just listed but I would never draw a picture of a house or a dog or a person. I found that he would get discouraged seeing how good I was compared to him and he would give up and ask me to draw for him. BTW, I'm not good...but I'm 30 years older than him. ;) Eventually he started doing people on his own and I was secretly so happy and relieved.
By contrast, his little sister has been drawing the most outstanding stick people since she was 2.5 year old.
Oh man, that sounds so so much like what my daughter did. Between 3.5 and 4 she would get soooo frustrated because her scribbly drawings/shapes/letters were not turning out like she wanted. Then around 4 yrs she turned some little developmental corner and all of a sudden could draw legible pictures and letters -it was almost an overnight change and it was neat to watch her go through it. Betting your sweet boy is not far off from something like that. Keep up the gentle encouragement, and let him take a break from it for awhile if he wants, cheers! :)
My 4 yr. old son is extremely verbally expressive, but his fine motor skills are practically nonexistent. He could recite his ABC's by a year old but he still can't write them. At T-Ball the other day everyone on the team was asked to sign a ball, one for each child, and he was upset that he was the only one who can't write his name--although he can read short words pretty much as well as his 6 yr. old brother. Needless to say his drawings are pretty shaky as well. I totally don't worry about it, but I did pick up a couple basic tracing books at an education store (to help strenghthen the muscles in his hands) and he really enjoys working on his own "homework." I just feel like some kids develop faster in some areas and slower in others.
As a preschool teacher and mother of a 4.5 DD I would recommend giving him lots of different mediums to choose from, just put art supplies out for him to choose, do some drawing with him, just casually for fun. Some children have no interest at all in drawing or writing, he will pick it up eventually. Children develop on many different levels at different time and skills. Encourage him to just have fun with it, give him examples just by sitting with him and enjoying drawing yourself. You are his best teacher!!!
My DD has drawn recognizable stuff since she was 2, but we could tell early on that she was "advanced" in that area, I wouldn't call that the expected usual time frame at all. She has professional artists on both sides of the family (my mom, and DH's grandmother) so it's no big surprise. What your son is doing sounds pretty normal.
What's not 'normal' is his being so upset about it. Most kids love their scribbles and have entire stories based around them, even if we can't make heads or tails out of it lol... It seems that maybe his brain is recognizing the difference but his hands aren't yet able to cooperate enough to do what's in his head. I wonder if the OT might in part be responsible -- not that I'm saying it's a bad thing (I don't know your reasons for doing it, what his issues are) -- just that the emphasis on specific, regimented, motor activities might be limiting his free exploration and giving him false expectations of what he should be able to do. It might not be connected at all, but I can't help but wonder.
Since he is doing so much regimented work, I would try to counter that with as much FREE creative work/play as you can muster. Do painting activities with him where the goal is to create broad swaths of glorious colour, just revel in a whole page of red, then do a page that's half red and half yellow and watch it turn orange where they meet and seep into each other. Wet-on-wet watercolour is great for this. Look into Waldorf painting methodologies for the preschool/early elementary set. The idea is that the goal is larger, freer motions with more abstract results, rather than small, specific, detailed drawings. And, importantly, do them WITH him -- by which I don't mean "help him make his", I mean "make one of your own alongside his". Then he sees that this is something legitimate because grownups do it too.
I love what Habitat said about drawing. Beautiful. Reminds me that I need to embrace my DS and DD where they are and not put my own worries onto them.
Queer Parenting since 2007
My daughter could draw things that were clearly whatever she was drawing by age 3. But she's shown a lot of talent artistically.
My son? He's 8 and still couldn't draw a decent picture if asked to. But he's not one to draw much... he prefers building things.
I think so much depends on interests. As parents we sit around and worry and that worry can lead to pushing, and if the kid just isn't a drawing kid, that can really hurt him/her. I did push DS on drawing a few times and felt just terrible. He may do art later, he may not, but I don't want to have him hate drawing because of me pushing.
Queer Parenting since 2007
My 3 yr old uses these:
According to the website:
"The pebble shape crayons are easy to hold and encourage the use of tripod grip to develop fine motor skills. They are specially shaped to allow small fingers to color in large, wide strokes, promoting confidence in creating art. Used by occupational therapists and teachers to develop skills that promote handwriting practice."
Worth a shot perhaps. However, I think scribbles are not unusual at this age and even older.
My 4 year old daughter drew this a few weeks ago. She usually draws dinosaurs and dragons, so this was a departure from her 'norm'. I think she was remembering some poster she saw in the doctor's office when I took her for her annual check up. It cracked me up. I thought it was a cyclops, but she explained that what I thought was an eye was actually the person's brain. She showed me that these are the bones, and the food goes down this way...and the way to the end.
Really interesting to hear about boys seeing the world in movement. Ds had no interest in drawing until he was about 6 but quickly became an avid drawer. In terms of accuracy his drawings look very simple but there is an amazing energy and movement to his pictures that I love and other people enjoy too. At 7.5 he still draws stick figures but I think it's largely because he draws to express his imagination and just wants to get it on the page as soon as possible! What amazes me is that despite his simple style the objects are usually recognisable and the stories the pictures tell are fantastic!
At 3.5 he could only manage feathery little line scribbles and couldn't have represented anything recognisable at all. Just let him go at his own pace and see what emerges! :)
DSD at 5 was doing some pretty good art. drawings that actually LOOK like people, places, or things. DS1 on the other hand as JUST started making 'people figures' and it's still very very basic. If left to his own devices his art is not anything that looks like anything . i've come to grips with this, really seems to be a boy thing.
Ak Hippie mama Yamia DSD '03 DS '07 DS2 '09 & DS3 '12
DD's not quite 3.5 She is capable of drawing a circle, cross, lines, perhaps more. I haven't asked her to try anything for almost a year, and she's been doing nonrepresentational scribbles by choice. She's not very interested in drawing or painting as a form of expression. She mostly enjoys exploring media.
ETA, wait, this thread is over a year old...
There is no hurry, children who don't read or write until age seven are often incredibly literate and artistic. I'm also a teacher and won't be teaching my child drawing, reading or writing until about the same age. I work with too many kids who hate all of that, especially boys, and have no creativity or joy in drawing, reading or writing. I believe it's because they were pushed to early and not left to play, and come to it at there own pace and joy... Which is, I believe the natural law of human development, but gets squashed by our fast past, clinical, prescribed, over anxious society that pushes kids too early.
A 3.5 year old should experience art and drawing freely, and totally independently, with no adult pressure, even if there is diagnosed "delays in development". The joy of colour and form is a deep experience to the child. It should be free from adult interference and the need to perform set exercises and tasks. Provide the beautiful drawing materials, and leave it up to the choice of the child. It is unique expression and the inner joy experienced by the child that should be kept sacred and protected.
Can you force a flower to bloom? It only blossoms at its own mysterious time, according to natural laws we can't always know or understand.
May your son grow in beauty and the in joy of expressing himself with freedom.