Super Scribbles!: How Young Artists Grow | Deborah Farmer Kris | 1 Min Read

“Every child is an artist,” Pablo Picasso said. “The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” Look at toddlers banging pans, wiggling their bodies to the music, and scribbling on the floor. They are exploring their world and making their mark on it — sometimes quite literally.

But how does this early exploration turn into artistic skill? When my daughter was four, she would spend hours with a box of crayons and a stack of paper. But she didn’t draw objects that resembled anything in the human world. Instead, she would fill one page with dots and then another page with random scribbles. One week, she spent all her art time making wavy line after wavy line. I called my sister, an art educator, “When will she start drawing people or . . . anything?”

“She’s doing exactly what she should be,” Aunt Rachel assured me. “She’s exploring lines and shapes, building her fine motor skills. When she’s ready, she’ll start to put them together in creative ways.”

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Deborah Farmer Kris is a senior parenting columnist at Intrepid Ed News. This piece was originally…

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Deborah Farmer Kris

A writer, teacher, parent, and child development expert, Deborah Farmer Kris writes regularly for PBS KIDS for Parents and NPR’s MindShift; her work has been featured several times in The Washington Post; and she is the author of the All the Time picture book series (coming out in 2022) focused on social-emotional growth. A popular speaker, Deborah has a B.A. in English, a B.S. in Education, and an M.Ed. in Counseling Psychology. Mostly, she loves finding and sharing nuggets of practical wisdom that can help kids and families thrive — including her own. You can follow her on Twitter @dfkris, contact her at [email protected], or visit her website: Parenthood365 (