Every parent has had that moment when a small child runs up to them with thrill in their voice to show off a whole lot of nothing. Well, at least to us as adults it looks like nothing. To the child, it’s a masterpiece; one of many. Scribbles are the start of your child learning how to be creative. Whether they are scribbling on themselves with a stolen eyeliner pencil, on a paper with a marker or crayon, or on your brand new beige carpet with a bright red lipstick… little bridges of creative growth are being built in your little one’s mind.
March 27th has been founded as National Scribble Day this year!!! Diane Alber, author of I’m NOT Just a Scribble is the founder of this exciting new annual day. She wrote her book in hopes to inspire others to share kindness and encouragement for children in their creativity. No one was born as an experienced artist. We were all born as a squish who learned how to scribble.
My kids love to create.
As long as I can remember, my son has been showing signs of being an engineer. He loves his Legos and taking things apart to make something new. When he was little he was always drawing and building. When he was in kindergarten he made my favorite picture ever. The thought that went into his design and explanation warmed my heart so much. I always promised myself that I would love every piece of artwork he showed me so that when the artwork really matters to him then he will always know it matters to me.
My hope is that throughout his angsty teen years he turns to art to help him through the rough days. And, in turn, shares that art and those bad days with me.
My middle daughter has never really liked coloring that much. Not even when she was really little. BUT! She LOVES to paint. Paint is her breath of art. I will admit though, painting is much harder to foster at this point than coloring is. Because the risk of a horrible mess is much greater. But my beautiful, graceful middle child is patient and enjoys the moments when her paint sets come out and she gets to make her masterpieces.
Now… Let. Me. Tell. You.
My youngest LIVES to color! I have settled many-a tantrum by simply sitting on the floor next to her with a coloring book and crayon. She sees the open invitation and is suddenly in a great mood. At one point, we had a storage tote with a white lid in our living room. She would crawl her little one-and-a-half year old self up there, sit on the lid and turned it into her mural. She has since moved on to our walls…
She loves to color a picture and come running up to me with it saying, “I p’etty! I p’etty!” And wants me to agree with her that what she made is so pretty! Even at the young age of 2 she will follow that up with a babbling explanation of what she has drawn.
This child hates baths. So, we bought her tub markers. Now, if we say, “Are you ready to take a bath? Are you gonna get in the tub?” Her answer is, “I cuh-wah!” and we know she is ready to go color in the bath.
So, what are our jobs as parents if the kids’ job is to scribble? Foster. Encourage. Engage.
Our kids will learn their value from the value we impart to them. If they draw something that doesn’t look great and we respond to them negatively then they learn to doubt their potential. If they color in an apple tree with pink leaves and purple apples…. Say, “Wow! That is so creative. I have never seen a tree with those colors. Are those your favorite colors? What other colors do you think would make a beautiful tree?” Creativity is SO vital to our kids’ lives. And yet, it is the easiest thing for people to lose as they grow up.
So, I challenge you to scribble something with your kids today. Or! Have them scribble something for you and make learning about it from them the most valuable part of your day. Because when they see how much value that scribble adds to your day then you will be adding that value back into them.