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Drawing Activities for Kids to Build Confidence and Skills

A little boy drawing

Drawing can be a fun and creative activity for kids but can also be challenging. Kids who have grown up with digital devices may see drawing as something only adults do. If you want your kids to develop their confidence and creativity, consider using some non-traditional drawing activities for kids. They are also a great way to boost your child’s confidence and get them to draw again. Here are some fun ideas to get you started:

1) Drawing with sticks and chalk.

When you draw with sticks, your kids have to really focus on the act of drawing. They won’t be worried about getting the lines straight or making things perfect. They also aren’t likely to fret over their artistic ability either.

You can use a stick to draw in the sand or snow. If you have a campfire going, try burning the end of a stick (with the help of a parent) and then using the burnt end of the stick on a large rock or cement. You can also use chalk on cement or blacktop. Making a large-scale drawing outdoors feels really different than drawing on a piece of paper. Kids use larger muscles, which can feel much more freeing than making small lines.

2) Activities using play dough or wax sticks.

Playdough is a fun and versatile material and great for hand-eye coordination and creativity. Using play dough, kids can roll the dough into different shapes. If they want to create an image, they can roll the dough into a long snake, and then they can shape it how they’d like. Kids will be less afraid to make mistakes because they can easily change the drawing.

You can use and reuse wax sticks in a similar way. They are pliable when warmed up a little with your hands, and kids can reshape the sticks multiple times. You can also combine wax sticks with found objects such as coins, rocks, or scraps of paper to make people, animals, trees, rocket ships, or whatever you can imagine.

3) Drawing Activities for Kids with Markers

If your child has grown bored with regular drawing and wants to try something new, consider getting some water-soluble markers and letting them draw on different surfaces and items. You can use plain paper, but you can also try drawing on other non-traditional surfaces like

  • foil
  • windows
  • Formica tables tops
  • the side of a bathtub
  • a dry-erase board
  • a plastic sheet (like a page protector)
  • laminated paper
  • a plastic dinner plate

This will force your child to experiment and see what works and what doesn’t. Kids can also experiment with different types of markers and discover which ones they like best. Be sure to test the marker in a small area to make sure that you can wipe it off later. Most water-soluble markers will wipe off a smooth surface with little effort.

They can also draw whatever inspires them. If your child loves a TV show or movie, encourage them to draw scenes from it. This is also a great way for kids to process their emotions. If your child is dealing with a traumatic event, encourage them to draw about it.

TIP

To extend this idea, you can spritz the drawing with water using a spray bottle, then lay a plain piece of paper on the drawing to make a mono-print.

4) More Marker Drawing Ideas

Bingo Markers

Bingo markers are also a fun way to make art. Kids can use them to draw thick lines or fill in areas with dots. Again, children will be using larger muscles than drawing with a pencil. This can make kids feel like they have a little more control.

Dry-Erase Markers & Mirror

Dry-erase markers are a fun choice for drawing. Use a dry-erase board to make a temporary drawing. For an extra fun activity, let your child use a mirror and decorate their face by drawing on the mirror with a dry-erase marker. Make sure to supervise so that they don’t accidentally start drawing on their face!

5) Sticker Drawing

Stickers are an easy and inexpensive way to get a drawing started. Let your kids add some stickers to a piece of paper, then use a marker or pen to draw a background or add designs around the stickers.

6) Drawing with Fingers

Finger painting is a tried and true way to get kids to draw. Be sure to protect their clothes with an old shirt (use an old adult t-shirt to cover up a little better). Put a plastic tablecloth on the table or floor and squirt a little paint at a time. Let them experiment with mixing colors, then use a variety of objects to draw into the wet paint, such as a Q-tip, popsicle stick, or just their fingers. If the paint starts to dry too soon, add more paint, or spritz the paint with some water using a spray bottle.

If you don’t have finger paint, try mixing tempera paint with liquid starch.

While the paint is drying, ask them to tell you about the picture. Here are 10 questions to get you started:

  1. What did you enjoy the most about making this painting?
  2. Can you tell me about the colors you used and why you chose them?
  3. Is there a story or idea behind your painting?
  4. What does this painting make you feel or think about?
  5. How did you decide what to paint? What inspired you?
  6. Is there anything in your painting that you want to tell me more about?
  7. What was the most challenging part of creating this artwork?
  8. How does this painting make you proud or happy?
  9. Is there anything you’d like to add or change in your painting if you could?
  10. Is there a favorite memory or experience that influenced your art?

7) Alternatives to Finger Painting

If you are concerned about the mess, here’s an idea to keep things contained:

Put the paper inside a zip lock bag and squirt a little paint on top of the paper. Close the bag and tape it shut for good measure. Then let your child use their fingers to draw in the paint. For a color-mixing activity, add two colors and let them squish the paint together through the plastic.

Another similar but cleaner activity than finger painting with paint is using shaving cream. Squirt some shaving cream on a baking tray or cafeteria-style tray and let kids draw in the shaving cream. This is great for learning to write as well!

If you have a grimy table top, you can use shaving cream to help loosen up the marks and dried paint.

If you are an art teacher, this makes a great class reward for the end of the school year! After having several classes earn their shaving cream drawing party, your tables will be spic and span!

TIP – this activity only takes about 10- 15 minutes because the shaving cream will begin to disappear after several minutes. Give students a few ideas to keep them drawing. Laminate drawing pages (Expressive Monkey has many to choose from) as one way to inspire them to draw several things. Students can also make patterns, experiment with different kinds of lines, or create a variety of textures in the shaving cream.

For example, students can earn a shaving cream monster activity for the last 15 minutes of class the week before Halloween.

You can laminate this free drawing page to give them some monster drawing ideas.

Or have them use this free elf drawing page for the week before Winter break.

Also, think about how you will have students clean up the leftover shaving cream. I handed out damp sponges to each student to wipe their hands and table off. This worked well enough so that they could wash their hands later if needed after they left art class.

Summing it Up

Drawing is a great activity for kids because it encourages them to be creative. If your child is hesitant to draw, doing some easy drawing activities helps to boost their confidence and improve their fine motor skills. Drawing is a skill that children can use throughout their lives. It is also a fun way to let your kids express themselves and their feelings. With these fun and creative drawing ideas, your kids will be inspired to draw again and again.

Share ideas in the comment section or my Facebook group:

  • What are some non-traditional ways you’ve made drawings?
  • What were your experiences with some of these ideas?
  • When did you start to love drawing?
mannequin standing next to a white frame with the 3 rules to break inside the frame
Click on the image to get your free download of this infographic!

This infographic is a good reminder that kids, especially reluctant drawers, are in a special place that requires nurturing from their art teachers to cultivate confidence and a love of drawing. This is the perfect time to celebrate their ideas more than their technique and reward their efforts more than their finished product.

You can read more about 3 Rules to Break to Encourage Reluctant Drawers in this blog post.


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A little boy drawing with a green paintbrush drawing on a clear glass
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Stacey Peters

I create engaging drawing resources that help students build confidence and express themselves through art. I'm a former elementary art teacher of 25 years turned business owner. Giving you the tools you need to bring more drawing into your classroom brings me joy.

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I create engaging drawing resources that help students build confidence and express themselves through art.

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