Arming your toddler with a crayon and encouraging her to draw doesn’t just develop her fine motor skills – it’s a great way to boost her creativity, too. And it means your fridge door (and walls) will be covered in a constant stream of her unique artwork (trust us, you'll never want to throw any of them away).
By the time your toddler reaches the two and a half years mark, she’ll be able to hold a crayon well and draw basic shapes and patterns – making it the perfect time to work on those artistic skills.
‘One of the best ways to really support your child's development is joining in and doing activities alongside or together,’ says Sarah Cressall, managing director of The Creation Station. ‘This isn’t just great fun but helps you and your little one bond.’
If you fancy a day of getting arty with your toddler, we've put together some expert tips, with guidance from Sarah as well as our top product recommendations to help you and your child explore your creative side.
There are plenty of ways you can encourage your toddler to get creative without the need for paper or crayons. Get her to plan her masterpiece first, by drawing the picture in the air with her finger. Or arm her with an Etch A Sketch to tempt her to create (and delete) as many pictures as she likes. These provide a great way of getting them used to getting their thoughts drawn out without all the mess that comes with it!
Large Magnetic Drawing Board
With four different colours and four stamps to get them started, there's plenty of room on this drawing board to let their imaginations run wild.
You can also make bath time more fun by showing your little one how to draw shapes in bubbles and do the same in the sandpit, too.
‘Having fun, making marks, and experimenting really helps your child to love learning and discovering new things,’ says Sarah. ‘Be silly – try making marks with a pen between your toes or, use a big roller brush with water outside.’
Alternatively, it might be worth investing in an activity mat, such as an Aquadoodle, for plenty of no-mess drawing by using water to create fun pictures.
Aquadoodle Classic Large Water Doodle Mat
Simply fill the Aquadoodle pen with water, run the nib over the mat and see your drawings appear like magic! The mat measures 75x75cm and has been specifically designed for toddlers.
Forget about intricate farmyard scenes - start by showing your little one how to draw simple shapes and lines, one object at a time. Make use of stencils and use objects like plates and cereal boxes to create outlines for your toddler to draw around.
‘As tempting as it might be to fix your child’s picture or tell her how to do it properly, it’s far more valuable to focus on the journey than the end result – this really helps her build her confidence,’ says Sarah.
Pile on the praise
The images and marks your little one makes will be unique. ‘They may look like scribbles to you but it's her work and effort,’ says Sarah. ‘Take time to look at her work and look at your child and tell them with a big smile how wonderful they are.’
It’s also important to chat to your toddler about what she’s drawing. ‘Rather than asking what is it say, “Can you tell me about your picture?”’ says Sarah. ‘This open ended question can lead to very interesting observations.’
There are some brilliant classes around that both you and your tot can sign up for. The Creation Station offers sessions from the age of one upwards in different locations around the country. Gymboree also holds preschool art classes that aim to boost your little one’s confidence and artistic potential.
Learn in another way
From Toddler Art to How to Draw, there are plenty of books to help with your toddler’s drawing endeavors. Or simply go online and watch some YouTube tutorials or try out a drawing app on their tablet if they have one.