Every child is an artist. – Picasso
Sam sets up the table and calls out “dinner’s ready!” After five minutes, she calls again and gets a “just a moment mom..” response from nine-year Luke. Curious to see what he’s up to, she goes to his room and sees him engrossed in something. She walks up to him slowly, careful not to disturb him, and is amazed at what she sees – art, so detailed and mature! As she looks at her kid, a sense of pride washes over her.
Did you ever feel that way? If yes, MomJunction’s list of fantastic drawing ideas for kids is just what you need to build on your child’s drawing skills.
The Perks Of Drawing For Kids
Drawing is the first language that a kid learns. Before they can read or write, children tend to draw anything that comes to their mind. They draw to communicate and express their feelings. That is why therapists use drawing to understand the kid’s emotional state (1).
There are many reasons why you should encourage your children to draw.
- Kids learn to communicate with their drawings. They learn how to express better and also develop motor skills.
- Drawing activity boosts the child’s confidence, improves their focus and feeds their imagination.
- Drawing can help a child regulate or change their mood too.
- Drawing can also be an effective bonding activity between parents and kids. Sit down with your kid and draw something together – you’ll know what we are talking about!
- Art classes can curb unhealthy social behavior early on. (2)
Basic Drawing Ideas For Kids
Children don’t need to be taught how to draw. What they need from parents and teachers is motivation to keep doing what they are good at. Kids may just draw lines or unshapely figures that make no sense to you. It may seem like scribbling to you, but when kids draw, they put 100% of their senses and emotions into it. It is a meaningful activity for them.
The right way to encourage kids to draw is to start with the basics of drawing.
- Start with simple drawing ideas like shapes – a circle, square or triangle. You could then try stick figures such as legs, arms, trunk and head. Give the kids step-by-step drawing instructions in the beginning.
- Younger kids may need some prodding, but most of them can draw a person on their own.
- Other ideas to try with younger kids include drawing what they see every day.
- Fruits and vegetables
- Family (mom, dad, sister or brother)
- Teacher and friends
- Animals (especially pets)
- Nature (trees, clouds, river, stars, moon, sun, flowers)
- Buildings (home, school, post office, etc.)
- Objects like a table, chair, fan, ball, pencil, bed, book, plate, tumbler, etc.
Do not expect your kids to draw a masterpiece. And do not criticize or make fun of what they draw. Appreciate the effort they have put in and encourage them to try more – this boosts their confidence and makes them feel good about themselves.
[ Read: How To Draw A Car For Kids ]
Different Ways To Draw
Kids don’t need an easel or paints to draw. They are happy to draw anywhere and everywhere (yes, even on walls, doors, and tables) and with anything that they can lay their hands on. As they grow older, their art becomes disciplined. That is when you can get them to try different methods and techniques of drawing. Here are some techniques you can introduce them to:
- Crayon drawing/coloring: Your kid may already own a box of crayons. Give him a drawing book and let him unleash color into it! Crayons are usually ideal for coloring rather than drawing.
- Sketching is to create vivid, detailed images using a graphite pencil and paper. Sketch drawings are generally incomplete and in monochrome. Artists usually prefer graphite pencils, watercolors, pastels and charcoal for sketching.
- Another fun way to draw is using chalk. Drawing on a platform as big as the chalkboard can encourage kids to use their imagination when they draw.
- Shading is the art of creating images using just a pencil – this technique teaches kids how to control the pencil to create lighter and darker shades.
- Doodles are what your kids create when they aren’t focused on what they are drawing. You’ll find a lot of these in their school books, on tissue papers, etc.
- Life drawing is recreating what you see in the real world, on paper. It can be a simple scene at a park, home, school or a mall. Life drawing usually includes people with expressions or in action.
Kids who are good at drawing should also be encouraged to try emotive drawing (showing different emotions, times and moods), illustrations and oil painting.
How To Teach Drawing To Kids?
You don’t need to be an artist to teach your child to draw. You may or may not be able to draw well, but you can certainly help your kid learn how to draw with these few tips.
- Kids can develop drawing skills by practice. There is no other way to it. Make drawing a habit, a part of the daily routine. Encourage them to draw something, anything for at least 20 minutes a day. They can draw at school or home.
- Make drawing a fun activity. Make it one of the activities you do with your child. Draw with them but do not show them how to draw step by step, as that can encourage them to imitate, without applying any thought.
- Encourage kids to observe something and then draw it. Start with something simple like a fruit or an object like a tumbler.
- Imagination is equally important for developing your child’s creativity. When they cannot always see what they want to draw, ask them to close their eyes and create a mental picture, which they can then draw on paper.
- Do not give them too many instructions on what to draw.
- Kids can also draw from memories. Ask them a question that triggers an image from the past – “Do you remember the time we saw the dolphins?” or “What did you see at the carnival?”
- The best way to get children excited about their drawing is to talk about it. Rather than passing judgment on their art, discuss it. Ask open-ended questions that allow them to articulate what their drawing stands for and what it means to them.
- Your child may not be the best artist around. Let your children make mistakes but do not criticize them. Encourage them to try again. Sometimes, a mistake may not be a mistake in art. It could just be another perspective.
- One of the most important things that you as a parent should know is to respond or react to a child’s drawings in the right way. Negative comments and corrections may be discouraging. Also, if you point out what is wrong without appreciating what is good, they will lose interest in it. Remember, the key is to be positive.
- Encourage them to maintain a book or record of drawings. You could also frame a few and display them, to boost their confidence.
You should avoid showing your kids examples, tricks, and tips that make drawing really easy (3). This will prevent them from learning to observe, express and invent.
[ Read: How To Draw A Fish For Kids ]
Easy Drawing Themes For Kids
Themes are simple drawing ideas that can make your little ones think. A single theme can generate hundreds of drawing ideas. These are a few basic themes that your kids can base their drawings on.
- School: Your kids can draw anything that represents school, such as a classroom with the teacher teaching in the class and students taking notes, a lab with chemicals and test tubes, playground with swings and see-saws and so on.
- Family: Ask them to draw a family portrait, their parents, siblings and pets. For example, your child may draw the family holding hands and standing in front of the house.
- Universe: Kids can draw a starry sky, planets, and earth without a lot of effort. A simple drawing kids usually end up with is the moon and stars.
- Seasons: Rainy day, summer activities and games, my first snowfall, snowman, autumn leaves etc. Some drawings under this theme could be images they see from their window, clouds and thunder, snowflakes etc.
- Animals: Dog, cat, horse, cow, bird, and more. For example, a dog with a bone or a rat with cheese, an owl on a tree branch.
- Buildings: Home, school, post office, or any other buildings that they see every day. These drawings could be simple blocks made from geometric shapes like a square, rectangle and a triangle.
- Modes of transportation: Car, bus, bicycle, ship or a motorcycle. A simple example of this could be a school bus or a train.
- Size, shape, and color: Draw something big, small, round, red, blue, yellow, etc. For example, if you tell the kid to draw something round, they could draw a ball, the moon or the earth.
You could also focus on specific drawing competition ideas for kids. Examples include world peace, environment, global warming, pollution, childhood, freedom, my dream, and life under water.
A theme does not pinpoint to one thing but allows a child to decide what to include and what not to. It also gives you an insight of their perspective.
[ Read: How To Draw A Penguin For Kids ]
Easy Drawing Prompts For Kids
Drawing is more fun than reading or writing. You don’t need to try hard to get your child to draw. But sometimes, they feel stuck. They may just not know what to draw. Telling them exactly what to draw or showing them a drawing is not going to fuel their imagination. But a prompt can. Here are a few creative drawing prompt ideas that can give your kid’s creativity the needed push.
- Superheroes – Superman, Batman, Spiderman or ask them to create their own superhero and name him or her!
- Popular cartoon characters – Winnie the Pooh, Simba from The Lion King, Mr. Incredible, Minions, Phantom, He-Man, Mowgli, Tarzan and so on.
- Professions –Doctor, astronaut, actor, athlete, police officer, firefighter, teacher, banker, businessman or priest.
You can even prompt them to try sketching someone they know – family member, friend, relative, or neighbor.
[ Read: How To Draw Cartoons For Kids ]
The best prompts are those that force them to use their imagination to conjure an image in their mind. Here are a few prompts that encourage kids to draw what they have never seen.
- A visitor from outer space
- A jelly bean tree – it is colorful and grows jelly beans!
- Something that breathes fire
- An anchor as it goes to the bottom of the ocean
- If it rained cats and dogs
- A bus-boat – bus that travels in water
- A silly animal
- How people will dress in the future
- Their older self / their parents as kids
- Their favorite story
- An animal clapping / laughing
- How the world looks from above
- A well-dressed carrot – carrot in tuxedo, evening gown or wearing a hat
- Broccoli fighting a donut
These are just a few easy scenery drawings they can pick. Use your imagination to fuel their art!
You could also use printable drawing prompts that are incomplete drawings. Your child has to complete them using her imagination. You can also create simple ready-to-use prompts like a mirror frame, the blank cover page of a book, road, a garden with one tree, and more.
Drawing Projects For Kids During Vacation
Without activity, summer time can seem pretty long and tedious. We have compiled some cool drawing project ideas that kids can work on during vacation. Take a look on how to start the drawings with these creative ideas.
1. Zentangle patterns:
A Zentangle teaches your kids to draw beautiful patterns in a structured and easy way. Give your child a Zentangle project and see how quickly he or she gets engrossed in it. It is also known to be a fun, relaxing and intuitive drawing method as it involves drawing using repetitive patterns.
2. Mirror Makeovers:
Mirror Makeovers is a fun drawing exercise that allows kids to give themselves a makeover, without changing a thing about them! You will need a full-length mirror, washable watercolors or paints (you could use shaving foam too – that’s more fun) and a few props for ideas. Let the kids stand in front of the mirror and tell them they can be anyone they want. Give them a paintbrush and see what fun they’ll have!
3. Drawing on cloth:
Children get bored easily. If drawing on paper is no more exciting, change the medium. Use a cloth instead – fabric drawing can be challenging and appeals to the artist in the kid. It keeps them focused and also gives them a sense of achievement. If you have old T-shirts (plain white or light colored), jeans or pieces of cloth you have no intention of using again, let your child use them as their canvas.
4. Draw on chalkboard:
Kids love to experiment and explore. If you have a chalkboard, encourage the kids to draw something on it. If you don’t have a board, they could use the driveway or another concrete surface as their canvas. Give them space and a few pieces of chalk and see what they can draw.
5. Draw cutouts:
What if your children could use their drawings? Sounds like fun, doesn’t it? A fun way to use their drawing skills is to make colorful cut-outs like masks, flags, shields and more. Encourage them to get creative by making monster masks, animal masks, space helmets and what not! Cutout-making also helps in developing their motor skills.
6. Draw on balloon:
Drawing on hard surfaces is easy. But can your kids draw on something as delicate as a balloon? Drawing on a balloon, without breaking it, takes skill that can be developed by practice. Balloon drawing can also be a fun activity for kids at a party.
7. Scribble drawings:
Give a toddler a pen and paper, and he’ll start scribbling instantly. If your child scribbles, you can help him make art out of it. They can fill color in the spaces or draw faces (eyes, nose, and mouth) in the empty spaces surrounded by the scribble lines.
[ Read: How To Draw A Bird For Kids ]
Fun Drawing Games and Activities
Some children feel inferior about their ability to draw and shy away from it. They will just not draw, no matter how many prompts, crayons or coloring kits you give them. How do you make drawing fun and enjoyable for them? How do you get them to try drawing? We think these drawing exercises, games and activities for children can work.
- If your kid wants to say something, ask them to express it through pictures.
- Blind-fold drawing is a fun way to let kids draw what comes to their mind without judging the output.
- Quiet drawing game is a fun game to play with a group. Give every kid a paper and pencil and let them take turns to call out what to draw. Everyone draws the same thing on paper, and shows off their skills in the end.
- Simon says, draw is a classic game where your kids have to draw what Simon says.
- Follow the leader is about following the leader, your child. Take two sheets of paper, one for you and one for your child. Draw what your kid draws on their sheet – to the T. The activity is fun and also motivates kids to draw anything, to see if you’ll draw the same!
- Make dots on the paper and ask your kid to use them to create a maze. The maze should have an entry and an exit.
- Back and Forth drawing game is a lot of fun. Take one sheet of paper and take turns to draw something together with your child. For example, you start with a box, he may add a window, and then you add a window, and he adds a door knob.
These are just a few ideas to make your child try drawing. You could also try using see-and-draw or see-and-color books.
We don’t guarantee that your child is going to be the next Picasso or Frieda Kahlo. But we do guarantee that he will have a jolly good time learning to draw with these tips. If your kid loves to draw, he or she will only love it more with these ideas. If your child shies away from drawing or any art, then these ideas will open up the world of art in a subtle way.
Do you have any more ideas to make drawing exciting for kids? Do tell us about them in the comments section.
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