Stages from Symbol to Image

Time spent with a child is the best way to know just where he or she falls in the stages of visual development, and, as with all other development, a child may advance beyond and retreat back. The following guidelines will help you determine where best to apply your energies:

At ages three to four years, you can work with basic shapes, but children in this age group will mostly draw symbolically in stick figures.

By the time children are five to six years old, they can begin to draw realistically from simple shapes, but they will also continue to draw symbolically.

Children who are seven to eight years old can draw realistically, but they may revert to symbolic drawings for fun. Let them!

Adolescents from eight to thirteen years old have abandoned symbolic drawing and are eager to draw realistically. They compare and criticize and can easily become frustrated and give up if they feel they cannot perform. It's especially important to remind this age group that drawing is fun, not competitive.

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Children's drawings can reveal their interests and should be encouraged.
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