How to get your child interested in drawing and colouring!

Not all children enjoy drawing and colouring and it can be difficult to encourage them. There are a number of reasons why some children seem reluctant to draw, paint or colour. For instance, some will not like the smell of the paint or crayons, while others may find the pencils, brushes or crayons too thin, long or heavy. Others may be reluctant due to past negative experiences. It can be tricky to work out exactly why a child doesn’t want to draw or write.

Here we have some tips and ideas that may help you to get started:

Paper Size– Some children like large pieces of paper to work on while others can be daunted by the prospect. Start off by having a range of paper sizes and colours for your child to choose from, this way you can find out which size of paper they prefer to work on.

Vertical surface – Having the paper pinned vertically on a drawing board or wall may also help encourage your child to have a go at drawing more than if the paper is laid flat on a table.

Drawing & Writing Tools – Have a range of pencil and crayon thicknesses, lengths and colours so that your child can choose the ones they feel most comfortable using. Try to make sure that the pencils are sharp enough to be used effectively as picking up and using a blunt pencil can be a negative experience which can turn a child off drawing or writing.

You could try using different drawing tools to start with such as chalks or special glass pens (which are great fun and designed to clean off easily).

Draw Together – Before you start drawing think about the kind of things that will interest your child, for instance drawing a train may be ideal for your little boy but not necessarily for your little girl. Use simple shapes to draw the objects so that over time your child will be able to copy so they too can draw successfully the train, cat or car. Practise by yourself so that when you are doing the drawing with your child it comes easily to you so that you can talk through what you are doing.

We have created some new drawings using simple shapes which you may find helps you to get started. Follow this link and scroll down the page a little you will find them under the ‘Activities to help hand development’:


Pick a time and place where you can start to draw in the same room/area as your child is playing. Start off by just sitting and drawing without actively involving your child. It is surprising how often a child will come to checkout and ask you what you are doing. They may just stand and watch for a while and go back to playing, just carry on and complete the picture without them. Leave the picture for them to see, you could let them know you have drawn it for them and have a little chat about it.

It may take a few goes but hopefully you will find that your child will watch for longer, maybe even asking you to draw different things in the picture, use certain colours, or want to help you colour or draw things.

At this stage it can help to explain what you are doing, for instance, if you are drawing a straight line or a wavy line to make a shape or pattern.

Other language you may use:

Straight, short, long, diagonal, up towards …, down towards …, across, curvy, wavey, zig zag, squiggly, swirling, dots, dashes.

A couple of weeks ago we talked about placement (preposition) and directional vocabulary which would also be great to use and help your child to develop as part of drawing activities.

By sharing and showing your child how to draw shapes and make pictures it gives them a positive and successful drawing experience, which encourages and gives them confidence to have ago for themself.

Why Placement (Preposition) and Directional Vocabulary is Important!

Teaching your child the vocabulary related to placement (preposition) and direction is import in supporting them to understand and follow instructions, as well as sharing information themselves, such as; ‘put your cup on the table’ or to say ‘teddy in car’.

We also use this placement (preposition) and directional language to explain how to draw shapes, patterns and write letters and numbers.

We have created 3 sets of picture cards and games to help you support your child in developing and using positional (preposition) and directional vocabulary.

You can find these free preposition flash card resources in Parent section of the Teach Handwriting website by following this link:

What are prepositions?

A word used with a noun or pronoun to show place, position, time or means, e.g. at home, in the hall, on Sunday, by train.” Definition from Oxford School Dictionary, third edition 2002.

Here are just some preposition and directional phrases you might like to use:

On the … On top of the … Above the … Over the…

Under the… Below the … Beneath … Underneath …

Behind the …

In front of the…

Next to …Beside the … On the right of … To the right of … On the right-hand side … On the left of … To the left of … On the left-hand side… Before the … After the …

In the…  Inside the …

Out of the … Outside of the …

Between the … In between the … In the middle … In the center …

Going up the ….  Going down the … Going towards the… Going away from …