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Get those refrigerator magnets ready: Your child will probably begin drawing pictures at around 15 months. At this point your toddler's fine motor skills have improved greatly from just a few months ago, and she's starting to think creatively. Even though her initial artwork may look like scribbles, your child imagines that she's drawn a flower or the sun, which is a real cognitive leap forward. When your child brings you a drawing, resist the urge to label it by saying "that looks like a rainbow." Instead, ask what she thinks the picture looks like. And be specific when praising her work by saying things like, "I like all the colors you used -- look, there's yellow, green, blue, and red." To encourage your budding artist, give her a box filled with age-appropriate supplies like thick crayons (traditional ones are too small for her little hands), washable finger-paint (the invisible formulas that only show up on certain paper are great), colored paper, coloring books with characters she'll recognize, and large stickers. --Leslie Gross Klaff
Copyright 2007. Used with permission from the December 2007 issue of Parents magazine. Updated 2009
The answers from our experts are for educational purposes only. Please always refer to your child's pediatrician and mental health expert for more in-depth advice.