Baby Blessings Preschool - happy children

Preschool Activities: This is why it is important for your toddler to Scribble

Baby Blessings Preschool - happy children

Preschool Activities: This is why it is important for your toddler to Scribble

According to, scribbling is a very important phase of preschool activities for children aged eighteen months to five years. It is a visual way for them to communicate and interact in a meaningful way with the adults in their lives. It also helps children to develop their coordination, creative and literacy skills.

Important Milestones

Just like we need to crawl before we can walk, we all need to scribble before we can draw, says. When a child is around 18 months, they will begin to show interest in scribbling.

This preschool activities phase can be categorised into five different stages:

  1. Random scribbling
  2. Controlled scribbling
  3. Naming of scribbling
  4. Early representational attempts
  5. Representational stage of scribbling

“Each of these stages is crucial in children’s physical, creative and literary development – scribbling is an important part of a child’s life,” says.

Preschool activities - Random Scribbling

1. Random Scribbling

This first preschool activities stage begins at approximately one-and-a-half years of age (18 months) and ends when a child is between two and two-and-a-half years old.  “These very first marks are children’s initial attempts to communicate through literacy, and are a big milestone in their lives,” says. “Random scribbling happens when lines are drawn with simple movements through a child’s arm swinging back and forward. The drawing at this point is a visual record of the child’s motor coordination and it is important to encourage the child with praise and positive expressions.”

Show your child how to make marks with a crayon but do so at your little one’s level by scribbling rather than drawing a picture.

Controlled Scribbling

2. Controlled Scribbling

The second stage in a child’s pre primary school artistic development lasts about one year. “Now the child appears to have visual control over where he is placing marks,” says. Your child has now learned how to fully control the crayons or pencils and will make marks on the paper where he wants to.

Say out loud what your child is drawing. Point at a round(ish) mark on the page your child’s drawing on and say, “I see you made a circle!”

At this stage, your child is probably more interested in the marks he’s making rather than any colours. So be sure to give your child a dark coloured crayon to use on a white paper or a white chalk on a blackboard.

Naming of Scribbling

3. Naming of Scribbling

In the third stage of scribbling your little one’s thinking has changed, and he is now connecting the scribbling with the world around him.  “The child is seeing a link between the mark he has put on the page and something that is meaningful to him in his life, a personal experience or object.”

As his mum, you may often ask him, “What is that?”

“This form of closed questioning may coerce a child to name his artwork out of embarrassment or because he wants to please the adult which can lead to a negative and restrictive influence on behalf of the adult.”

Instead, ask him to explain to you what’s happening in the picture, as “children at this point may be using different marks to represent different thoughts or feelings that are passing through their minds while drawing rather than recording specific concrete events”. If he says he drew you, ask him about the colour he used for your hair or the marks he made. “It is beneficial to introduce different colours into the drawing experience – especially blue, yellow and red,” the primary colours.

In this preschool activities stage, your child’s drawing may start to resemble real-life images, because he has greater muscle control and a greater understanding of the world around him.
“At approximately three years of age, children will attempt to draw a sun-like object, before moving on to drawing radial lines out of a specific point – the start of arms and legs.”

To encourage this, comment on the shape of the marks he has drawn, without necessarily naming the object. Also, continue to encourage your little one to talk about what they are drawing, and what inspired them … it’s fascinating to hear where their imagination goes!

Preschool Activities - Representational Stage of Scribbling

5. Representational Stage of Scribbling

When your little one turns around four years old, the last and final stage of the development of their scribbling starts. They will draw basic objects, like people (a round form with inner shapes that will represent eyes, etc. as well as drawing stick-like lines for arms).

“The child will use this basic round form to draw other objects such as a car or an animal. As the child ages, the drawings become more complex. He will often draw what he knows is there, rather than what he can visually see – this often leads in some Picasso like representations!”

Talk to him about the lines and colours he’s using, and how it makes him feel and what he thinks about while drawing them. And remember to always offer praise for what he has drawn.

By Elsje Du Toit