When will my child learn to draw?

Q: When will my child be able to draw a picture?

A: 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

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