My 5 year old son and I were drawing together recently and he was having some difficulty in drawing. Generally I load him up with materials and let him go without any sort of direction and he enjoys himself. His drawings are basically developmentally appropriate for his age but he’s never really relished drawing, particularly drawing the details.
This particular day he kept asking me to draw things for him and I wanted to encourage him to draw them for himself. I wasn’t tired of drawing them for him, and I obliged him some, but he’s one of those kids who is reluctant to try things that he thinks he’s not good at. I think he needs a little direction to give him the confidence to get started.
So I tried to turn the tables on him and have him draw some of the things he was asking me to draw. He would tell me “I don’t know how to draw ____________” for almost every one. I tried to encourage him by getting him to break things down into shapes that he see. For example: a tree. I’d ask him what parts a tree has and we would break it down and draw each part (trunk, branches, leaves) one at a time, thinking about the general shape of each part.
In thinking about the drawing session I decided to make him some pages to help him work on his fine motor skills and drawing shapes in particular. He recognizes all of his shapes so these sheets are aimed at producing the shapes not recognizing them. These printables are free for your own personal (non-commercial use). You can get the shape drawing worksheets here.
Don’t worry, we still have plenty of free time with the art materials during which I just let him go his own way but I want to help him improve in this area in skill so that when it comes time for him to be creative he’s got some more confidence in his abilities. I hope to continue to draw with him and build on his abilities to think about what he wants to draw and figure out how to get that onto paper.
Anyone else out there working on shapes lately? I’d love to hear any ideas you might have for encouraging early artists in the comments!