Crozet Play School

Kids at Play in Crozet

Developmental Stages of Children’s Drawings

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To get to know each other better I have been slowly introducing different provocations that allow the children to look more closely at themselves and their features. We have read different books about being ourselves such as “Stand Tall Molly Lou Melon” and “Leo the Late Bloomer.” The overarching theme in these books are that we are all different and we should be kind and appreciate these differences.

The picture above shows an activity I set up last week for children to look more closely at themselves. I provided mirrors, black and white photos of each child, and large highlighters. Some children traced their features, colored their facial features or hair. It was interesting to watch them notice these features and how they discussed their pictures as they were high lighting them. “This is my hair, I am coloring it yellow.” “Look at my eyes.” “I can see my nose.”

After they had a chance to draw on their photos over a series of days, I then asked each child to draw a black and white photo of themselves in their learning journal. The results were often very detailed on the heals of studying their photos.

Here is H working through his picture of himself while referencing his black and white photo and the mirrors.

The graphic above shows the developmental stages of drawing and how much changes from the ages 3 -5 years old. This age range is called the pre-schematic stage. Some of the aspects of this stage are:
drawings become more complex, although usually unrealistic.

drawings of people are very simple with few features.

Objects in drawings often float in space and are not anchored.

“Tadpole Figure People” are drawn with a very large head on a small body with extended arms.

So these activities are hoping to get each child to look a bit deeper and draw a more detailed picture of themselves.

Above M is focusing very hard on her self portrait. She actually went on to draw many of the people in her family too.

The graphic above shows the stages of holding the pen. Your child might still be at the first stage of pencil holding, but we will be taking steps this year to move them closer to a correct pencil grip. The Handwriting Without Tears Program has some great songs, games, and techniques to encourage this!


This week I set up a face painting station at the tables, with a twist! Instead of having me paint their face, THEY got to paint their own faces. Mrs. Brittany and I sat near the table on and off in the morning to take pictures and more importantly talk to the children. We would ask them, “What are you painting now?” “What color are you using to paint your cheek?” We were trying to draw attention to their painting and the details of their faces. My goal is for this activity to again translate to their pictures of themselves.

A even went on to paint her hands and fingers. It was great to see her painting other body parts, and hopefully she will include them in future pictures!

D got in on the face painting both mornings this week!

M was very careful and painted lots of purple on the main portions of her face.

D was very interested in the face painting activity. It was the first choice she visited this morning. And the results were wonderful! I felt that another aspect of this activity that was an unexpected outcome was how confident the children felt in their painted faces. Some children started to say that they felt “weird” in the face paint. Mrs. Brittany and I emphasized they had done such a remarkable job with their paintings and it reminded us that we are all different and perfect just the way we are…similar to the themes of the books we have been reading in class!

Lastly, we are still working on an abstract art self portrait! I can’t wait to share the finished results next week!

One thought on “Developmental Stages of Children’s Drawings

  1. Pingback: What Makes us Unique? | Crozet Play School

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