The Evolution and Benefits of Drawing: 3 to 5 Years

Introduction to Benefits of Drawing

The drawing allows to develop the artistic sense of the child and to assert his personality. It is also a way of acquiring skills that prepare them for writing our easy drawing for kids.  Follow their progress here.

If your child is under 3 years old, see our fact sheet for the evolution and benefits of drawing: 1 to 3 years.

The evolution of drawings in children 3 years to 4 years

At this age, the child’s hand-eye coordination improves. He has better control over the pencil: he can now lift it and put it back in the same place. He begins to draw closed circles, which requires good control of his gestures.

However, as cool drawing ideas are created at random from the lines he draws, the toddler recognizes what he has drawn afterward. The colors that toddlers use is also random.

At this age, it is difficult for anyone other than the child to recognize what their drawing represents. He may even change the description if you show him the same drawing sometime later.

Evolution of snowmen

Around 3 ½ years old, the child begins to draw “tadpole” figures: a circle represents the head, to which he adds eyes.

The arms, represented by horizontal lines, come out from each side of this head. The legs, represented by vertical lines, hang from the bottom of the head.

Gradually, the character gains in detail: the nose, the mouth, and the eyebrows are added. Next, come the hair and ears. It is estimated that 90% of toddlers do this type of drawing.

The evolution of drawings in children aged 4 to 5

Around 4 years old, the child’s drawings become a little more realistic and more detailed. It is easier to recognize what a toddler has drawn as they become more skilled. His drawings are then closer to reality and objects, even if the proportions are not yet good.

In addition to the circles, the child now draws squares and rectangles. Around 5 years old, he also learned to draw triangles.

His first geometric shapes are often drawn by accident. Little by little, he reproduces them voluntarily.

At this age, the toddler also likes to reproduce certain shapes or patterns that are recognizable. This prepares him for writing.

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The little one draws what is important to him in a large format. Thus, his figures are often as big as the houses he draws. His characters often also have a disproportionate head compared to the rest of their body.

The child relies on what he knows about objects to reproduce them in his drawings, and not on what he sees.

So, since he knows that a table has four legs, he will draw them systematically, whatever the arrangement of the table.

Likewise, if you ask him to draw his house, he will probably draw a house as he imagines it: a square, a roof (most often sloping), a door and windows, even if he lives in a flat.

There is also transparency in his drawings. If he draws a child sitting in a car, his legs will also be visible. If he draws mom in the house, we will see her entirely through the walls.

At this age, therefore, the child’s drawings do not accurately represent reality, but they gradually approach it.

It is only around 9 years old that he will draw what he sees. He will then rely on the observation of objects to reproduce them while respecting their concrete particularities.

Evolution of the figures

Around 5 years old, to represent the trunk, the child adds another circle or a vertical line under the head of his man.

He then draws the legs (represented by 2 parallel lines), feet, and fingers (represented by circles or lines, but not necessarily a good number).

He also adds details to his man like hair, nose, mouth, neck, shoulders, etc. The child represents little clothing. It is only around 6 years old that his man will be dressed.

Little by little, the drawing for kids goes from which the characters are represented from the front and motionless to drawings of figures in action, in different positions. He also begins to draw a landscape behind his characters.

How to encourage your child to draw?

  • Provide them with a variety of materials: colored pencils, paint, pictures to stick on, glue sticks, etc. When you encourage your toddler to create with a variety of materials, you are fostering their interest in drawing. Let your child explore. It is important to accept that he uses a lot of gouache or glue, that the paper has holes and that it is all “crooked”.
  • Respect your child’s whims and let him choose his colors. He draws better and better, but his drawings remain more creative than realistic. Is he drawing a blue sun? Its flowers are bigger than its tree? It does not matter.
  • Avoid always showing him how to draw, for example, a flower or a tree. This attitude makes him less confident in his abilities. He then thinks that what adults do is better. This can limit his creativity and initiatives.
  • Prioritize the white sheet. It leaves more room for the imagination than a coloring book that gets your little one to follow a pattern. If you want to teach your child to be more precise and not to overshoot, it is better to ask him to draw lots of circles and color them. He will thus learn to control his gesture. You can still present him with coloring books occasionally.
  • If he doesn’t know what or how to draw, encourage him to observe and describe his surroundings. The clock on the wall is round. The window is square. The roof of the house is in a triangle. This will help your little one sees how they can represent things in their drawings.
  • Get your little one thinking when they don’t like their drawing. It takes time before you can do what you want. By simply putting your child in front of reality, you teach them to trust themselves, to develop their self-esteem, and to deal with their frustration.
  • Accept that he smears or throws away his works. Until 4 years old, the child does not try to do something beautiful; he wants to play. He draws simply for the pleasure it gives him. Make, undo, glue, take off, re-glue: this is his favorite game. This helps to boost his self-esteem as he learns to have control over objects. Around 4 years old, he moved on to another stage: he wanted to create more and keep his drawings. He begins to display them, accumulate them, and give them away as gifts. You will then be entitled to an industrial quantity of drawings!
  • Suggest different ways to draw to make this activity even more interesting. For example, provide a variety of pencils (eg, felt-tip pens, wax crayons, window or bath pencils, wood pencils, chalkboards, etc.). Also invite them to draw on different surfaces: on cardboard, on a blackboard, on a magnetic tablet, on the sidewalk, on a window, or a mirror.
  • Have your toddler draw the “ugliest picture in the world”. It works well to encourage drawing a child who does not feel good.
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Ideas for comments to tell your child

Instead of just telling your child that their drawing is beautiful, you can comment on their drawings and ask them what they have done.

This is another great way to encourage her to draw. Here are some ideas for comments to give your little one:

Further visit: Why Drawing Is Essential? Quick Learning In 5 Minutes

To help her feel good

  • I love the colors you chose.
  • You took up all the space on your sheet.
  • You have very good ideas. I like your drawing. Only you can do it: it is unique!
  • You added lots of little details. It is very pleasant to watch.
  • Wow! There are patterns in your animal or your character’s clothes. What a good idea!
  • What if we digitized your drawing and sent it to Grandpa or your Aunt Alexandra?

To help him continue his drawing, but without imposing your ideas

  • What is the weather like in your drawing?
  • Is it spring, summer, winter, or fall in your drawing?
  • Are there any characters in your drawing?

To help him tell you about his drawing

  • Oh! Things are going on in this drawing!
  • Tell me about your drawing.
  • What are your characters doing in your drawing?

The benefits of drawing

He exercises his fine motor skills to hold the pencil, direct it on the paper, and control his movement. Achieving this check-up is a step in preparing your little one to write.

Drawing also exercises its tactile perception (touch). Indeed, when he draws, your child must feel the pencil well in his hand and apply himself to exert adequate pressure on the paper, without tearing it.

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When drawing, your child also uses perception skills, that is, they practice visualizing objects and shapes in space to organize their drawing and, later, copy lines and geometric shapes.

Besides, drawing encourages your toddler to use his observation skills and knowledge since your child reproduces in pictures what he knows about the world.

Drawings on a tablet or paper?

Apps for drawing on an electronic tablet can promote creativity if they allow drawing, not just coloring.

However, if your child draws with his fingers, he is not developing fine motor skills. To do this, he must use a tablet stylus.

Remember that the tablet is just one tool among many to get your little one to draw. Make sure you also provide paper and pencils for him to practice with traditional equipment.

To find out more, see our file Drawing: much more than fun!

To remember

  • Your child begins to want to represent things he knows in his drawings, but still with a lot of fantasy: the colors and proportions are not necessarily right.
  • Making a variety of plastic arts materials available to your child promotes his or her interest in drawing.
  • When he draws, your child develops his creativity and skills that prepare him for school.

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