Post by Contributing Writer Jennie
“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.”
– Pablo Picasso
This quote from the famous artist is so true! I remember as a young girl loving to draw. I kept sketch books for several years; however as I reached my adolescence I slowly stopped. Art class was not mandatory at school anymore and I didn’t have as much free time either. The leisurely pace of childhood had passed. I think the importance of this post is two-fold: to first, work on your little one’s fine motor skills by teaching them to scribble, and secondly, to instill a love for “art” at a young age! Some children will be naturally drawn to art more than others and that’s okay. Every child has different interests and abilities. However, we as parents (and our children’s’ first teachers) can allow them essential time to slow down life and be creative! Take a few minutes every day to scribble, paint, mold with dough, or any other activity that speaks to your child’s inner artist!
For this particular activity, here is what you’ll need: crayons and markers, a large piece of paper or a brown paper shopping bag, and an adult’s lap to sit on.
Begin by showing your baby the crayons and paper, and then demonstrate how to scribble on the paper.
I chose to use the side of a brown paper shopping bag because it is larger than a regular piece of copy paper. Our large muscle groups (gross motor) develop before our small muscle groups (fine motor), so it is difficult for a baby to scribble on a small piece of paper. I also chose to use crayons because the wax on the paper provides friction, which is stimulating to the nerves on the fingertips. This tactile exercise sends a stronger message to the brain versus a writing utensil that doesn’t provide much friction, like a marker.
Now, let your little one have a turn. He or she will likely draw in a circular motion as this is the easiest motion for a baby and even a young child to do.
I repeatedly had to remind Twin Girl that “We don’t eat crayons.” (This is why I said you need an adult’s lap to sit on! J)
As your little one scribbles, talk to him or her about the picture: “What color did you use? What shapes do you see?”
Now help him or her press down firmly and then press down gently. Use those words to describe the different pressures.
Next, I offered Twin Girl a marker. I chose to use a marker this time so she could see the fruits of her labor easier! Like I wrote earlier, a baby’s fine motor skills develop slowly, so she does not have the strength she needs quite yet to “color up a storm”! She can color with the marker much more effortlessly.
This first piece of art work may not be “fridge-worthy”, but you did provide a vital learning opportunity!
Jennie is a stay-at-home mom to an almost-3 year old boy and 9 month old boy/girl twins. She received a degree in early childhood education and has several years of experience teaching both Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten prior to having children. While she jokes that she’s had a successful day if “no one goes hungry or gets hurt”, she realizes that it’s the little things we do that we might not even know we’re doing that make a BIG difference to our children!