3 y.o. doesn't like to draw--how to encourage? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 14 Old 10-23-2011, 11:48 PM - Thread Starter
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Hey...so, this is sort of a trivial "problem" but my 3 year old is really reluctant to draw or scribble....if she has a piece of paper and a crayon or marker, she might make one mark on the paper, sometimes a pretty small mark. Every now and then she will color in a picture if we're at a restaurant or something and there's a kids' menu with a picture. She has paints, markers, crayons etc and I have tried various ways to get her more interested (from setting up interesting little craft projects to being completely hands-off), and I guess maybe it's just not her thing...but any ideas for encouraging it? Mostly because I so enjoy making art myself and I think she would enjoy it too, but perhaps I just need to get over it. Also I think it's a very good precursor to writing & general hand/eye coordination.


Give me some ideas for encouraging her, or just tell me this is normal for 3, or that I'm being crazy.  :) 



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#2 of 14 Old 10-23-2011, 11:55 PM
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Maybe a bit more structured projects? What about clay? (It's good for building up fine motor skills too.) So is building with legos.


I think you may just have a kid who doesn't like to draw. Our son hated to draw. Now, he did have some sensory issues and a fine motor delay (that was addressed in occupational therapy), but even after occupational therapy, he still doesn't like art. Or legos. Or building. He's got a great imagination, and is starting to do some cartoonish kind of art on his school's google docs. He's going for the laugh factor there, which is fine by me.


Our daughter took to writing early and draws and writes often. She got less encouragement from me because being #2, I was busy. But she sought it out.

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#3 of 14 Old 10-24-2011, 03:22 AM
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I agree that maybe you could consider other forms of art for her--more tactile stuff.


My oldest was drawing amazing stuff at 3, and writing quite well at four.  So when the next one came along, I was really worried that he didn't even want to *hold* a crayon or marker.  And if I made him draw, he'd sit down and scribble something and then run away.  Now he is six, and his drawing is limited to stick figures and unfortunately phallic looking rocket ships, lol. 


It's just not his thing.  And at some point I realized that it's OK.  He did have some fine motor delays (he is one of those "Do it with your whole body" kids, flinging himself around, big movements, etc), and also not interested in legos and tiny fussy things.  I've addressed the handwriting issue with him, because that's an important life skill, but I've learned to be willing to let his own personality and nature take the lead when it comes to creativity.  If that's imaginative play instead of calligraphy, so be it. :D

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#4 of 14 Old 10-24-2011, 10:38 AM
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If you are worried about encouraging fine motor, consider other activities.  Clay was mentioned earlier, and there's also playdoh.


I also loved doing pudding painting-- in which you put pudding on a plate or clean counter top and have the child write or draw or scribble in the pudding with a fingertip. Delicious and fun.

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#5 of 14 Old 10-24-2011, 11:03 AM
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I know colouring books aren't supposed to be all that great for creativity... but since she likes the menu page at restaurants, maybe she'd like a page out of a colouring book to scribble on? My son wasn't very interested in drawing until he started kindergarten, and art has become one of his favourite subjects... lately he's been gluing blank paper to the front of pokemon cards he doesn't like, and creating his own characters.

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#6 of 14 Old 10-24-2011, 12:08 PM
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ds loves gluing!  We usually get confetti when it goes on sale at the end of a holiday/season (like halloween confetti now), buttons, pipe cleaners, feathers, glitter, etc.  We have glue sticks and squeeze glue.  We also have "crazy scissors" (scissors that cut in different designs) and ds enjoys cutting up magazines and catalogs and gluing those pictures onto things.  Mostly he glues onto cardboard out of our recycling and sometimes paper.  He makes crazy art projects that way.  He seems to enjoy that more than drawing.  I think he is frustrated that his drawings don't really look like what he wants them to look like, so he prefers collage as a medium.

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#7 of 14 Old 10-24-2011, 12:53 PM
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Gluing, cutting, stamping and "stickering" are favourite activities here with my 4yo.


Also, what about drawing in the dirt with a stick, on the sidewalk with chalk, etc.  Maybe changing the medium would help.

Kate, mom to 7 year old Djuna and 4 yr old Alden. Missing our good friend Hal the cat who died June 2, 2010

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#8 of 14 Old 10-24-2011, 01:31 PM
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Could you leave some art supplies out without giving her any expectation to just sit down and draw? Let her explore different materials when she is ready/interested.  We have an art center with lots of paper, stamps, crayons, markers, hole punches, scissors, tape, glue, sequins, glitter glue pens etc... It is available all the time and my kids will sit down and draw or write or cut or whatever. I try not to worry about the mess and (knock on wood) so far no one has drawn on the walls or anything.  I just keep any of the really messy stuff put up so they have to ask me for it if they want to paint or whatever. My kids also like Bingo dobbers and pipe cleaners.  My oldest was never really interested in drawing and coloring. Now, as a first grader he LOVES art and other projects. She sounds pretty normal to me, but there is nothing wrong with encouraging her to be creative. Even if it is not her thing.

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#9 of 14 Old 10-24-2011, 07:24 PM
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My DS is 8 and has never enjoyed art. I'm not especially artistic, either, so it didn't really bother me. I did want to encourage fine motor skills, and found that he loved doing mazes and dot-to-dots. We went through books of them. Now he's in second grade, still dislikes drawing, but his handwriting is really nice.


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#10 of 14 Old 10-24-2011, 08:18 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks all for the ideas and stories about your own kids. A couple of these ideas I've tried (like sidewalk chalk and also just keeping art supplies available all the time) but pudding painting and collage would be new for her so I'll try those. And I might actually go with the coloring book thing just to see...I'm sort of anti-coloring books, but I have noticed her enjoy coloring sheets (I think she actually likes the structure of the printed drawings). 


She does do all sorts of fiddly things with doll clothes and Playmobils, so I'm not too worried about her overall fine motor skills, just the drawing. I want her to just enjoy the process of doing art, but I can't force it, I guess.   :) 


Thanks again!

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#11 of 14 Old 10-24-2011, 10:20 PM
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I have always suffered from "blank page syndrome" not knowing what to draw or where to start. I have always liked art but needed inspiration. I liked colouring books and activity pages as a kid because they gave me somewhere to start. Maybe a connect the dots kind of thing, or an empty garden where she draws the flowers in?

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#12 of 14 Old 10-25-2011, 07:32 AM
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My son wasn't interested in drawing at all until Kindergarten; by first grade he was making his own comic books.

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#13 of 14 Old 10-25-2011, 07:57 AM
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My DD wasn't interested in drawing or coloring at that age. She preferred to make others do it for her. I backed off. She's always been the sort where if you push an activity, it automatically removes her interest in it. I love to sketch and paint and well... basically do any art project I have supplies for. Once I stopped suggested artsy activities and just enjoyed them myself, she started getting interested. She's 6 now and loves all things arts and crafts. 

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#14 of 14 Old 10-25-2011, 10:37 AM
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Maybe you can focus on colors instead of on coloring... like identifying different colors in the environment, looking through the 64+ colors in a crayon box, etc.  I think a desire to color can stem from a true interest in different colors.  Maybe try introducing her to color words or use color worksheets to learn colors.  The pictures are really engaging and may captivate her attention and get her drawing! :)  Good luck!

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