At what Stage of Art is your “Child’s Scribbles” in ?

Did you know that the scribbling done by your 2 year old also has a meaning? Yes, it’s true. There are different stages in ‘Toddler Art’, which signify their mental development. Read on to identify the stage that your child is in and learn how to encourage them to move on to the next.

There are several stages in the development of a child in art. This theory assumes that these stages occur in a sequential order and the child progresses from one stage to the next. However, like all theories, these should not be taken literally as growth happens at different rates in different children – which is normal. 

1.             1.Scribbling Stage ( 2-4 years): 

During this stage, the child will make random marks, dots and lines. Here, they enjoy scribbling purely as it gives them a chance to move their arms freely. He will use the drawing tool as if he has no connection to it i.e. the hand and the eye will not be always coordinated. He will simply move the arm. There are three sub-stages here :: 

  •  Random Scribbling – When the child’s hand and eye movements are not coordinated.
  • .Controlled Scribbling – When the child looks at his drawings and tries to ‘draw’ in a controlled manner.
  • .Naming of Scribbling – When the child scribbles and gives names to his drawings, e.g. – cow, dog, sun, mummy etc. The scribbles might look the same to us, but they have meaning for the child. It is very important to ‘accept’ the child’s drawing and encourage him, rather than ‘correct’ him during this stage. 

In order to enhance creativity and imagination, it is advisable to give the child a big (very important for free hand movement) sheet of paper and some thick, dark colored crayons (as they are easy to grip and see). Providing them with coloring books can actually inhibit their thought process and curtail creativity, so do not waste your money on them. 

2.  Pre-Schematic Stage (3 to 7 years): 

A child enters the second stage in art when he represents objects in his environment using symbols. These symbols are mostly formed using circles or squares or lines. The child has no concept of ‘up’ (sky is up) or ‘down’ (grass is down). Things are drawn haphazardly all over the paper, in fact, the paper might be turned around several times while drawing.  

Again, encourage the child to draw and provide him different types of materials for exploration. As his concepts develop, more and more details will start emerging. It is very important to ‘not’ correct the child’s drawings – give him options, but let him decide.

The other stages are Schematic, Transitional and Realism Stage that take place from 6 to 12 years and over. 

So enjoy your child’s scribbles, pay more attention to them, identify the stage that they are in…. and most importantly – HAVE FUN ! 


My Toddler Loves to Mess – HELP !!!


MESSY is the word that comes to our mind when we think of our toddlers indulging in art, especially at home with mommy in the summer vacations. But if you want to indulge your child in some stress-free art, then read on for some ideas. 

Paint in a Bag Trick : Fill different blobs of colors in a zip-lock bag and seal it. Lay flat on the table and let the kids mix the colors around inside the bag using their fingers. They will love to do this for hours together, learn about color mixing and not create a mess. You can even stick these up on a window, and let the children mix colors as the light shines through. Then, simply throw the bags in the dustbin. But make sure, the bag is properly sealed ! 

Special Paint-brushes : Small children find it rather difficult to hold paintbrushes and use them effectively to paint since their motor skills are yet developing. Hence, you can make special paintbrushes using clothes-pegs and sponge pieces. Also you can use cotton balls, feathers, strings – anything that can be held by a clothes-peg easily. Kids will find working with each ‘brush’ challenging and interesting as the effects created will be different.   

Ice-cube Painting : Fill an ice tray with some water with food coloring of different colors and leave overnight.  Next day, let the kids paint…maybe lick away using the cubes. You can even insert toothpicks in your ice cubes after they are half-set, to make it easy for the kids to hold. 

Bubble Painting : Pop! There is something so magical about bubbles that all kids love them. You need only a bubble wand, some bubble making mixture (soap and water), and food coloring. Mix different food colors into the bubble mixture in separate trays. Then use your bubble wand and create bubbles of different colors on paper. Your kids will surely get ‘blown away’ with this one. 

Try these ideas out with the little ones and have a fun-filled time. Do not worry about the mess, remember that this is only for a few years. So, get the young Picassos going… !