Image of girl painting

“My world this day has lovely been,
But not like what the child has seen.” – W.H. Davies

The early and repeated use of art materials such as pencils, brushes and clay quickens the child’s awareness and deepens their personality. Also, the imagination is developed and enriched.
Art also serves to clarify feelings.

Children’s Art Progresses In 3 Stages.

1 – The Manipulative Stage

Initially, the child needs experience with getting the feel of art materials and enjoying experimenting. For example, It’s beneficial to give them the freedom to mix, pound and roll clay. Also to allow scribbling, finger painting and putting one colour over another.
Then watch their happy satisfied faces as they do this.


Image of boy

2 – The Symbolic Stage

At this stage you will hear the child saying, “This is a road, this is a mountain, and this is my house.” Their art doesn’t seem to bear any resemblance to their descriptions, but their own symbols have a reality to them, and their artistic imagination has begun.

3 – The Recognisable Stage

  • Very gradually, a resemblance of the human figure, or a house appears, and we have the beginning of this stage. There should be no urging of the child to reach a stage beyond the one they are in.
  • It’s best for the adult not to suggest improvements, not to provide copies, and above all not to laugh.
  • The Symbolic Stage begins to evolve into the Recognisable Stage by about 4 years old.


  • Allow the child to pass through these stages naturally, and without too much comment or judgment of their work.
  • Provide an art space that is pleasant and don’t be alarmed if they revert to scribble when you expected recognisable work.
  • Give them the opportunity to get the most from their art.

Here is a great book I recommend if you’d like to find out more –
Drawing With Children: A Creative Method for Adult Beginners, Too
by Mona Brookes.
It’s available at Amazon etc.

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