Inspiring children to draw the world

I have always been a fan of inspiring children to draw by placing an object on the table along with a set of crayons.

In order to inspire the children, especially young children, you have to start by drawing their attention to the finer details of the object through touch and conversations. In other words, I couldn’t just place the globe on the table and walk away. My assistant spent a few minutes in discussion with the children about the globe: “What is a globe and what is it used for?” “What colors, lines, or do you see when they look closely at the globe?”

Not every child will be inspired to draw the object you choose, but keep encouraging everyone to participate, notice the details and then consider doing some drawing. Usually, I set my still life object out on a small table where at least two to four children can sit down together and draw. I find that when the children see their friends giving something a try, they are more likely to join in and give it a try too.

My Primary Goal of Still Life Drawing

It is important to note that their drawings may end up looking nothing like the object. The primary goal, for me at least, is to notice the finer details. Notice how the globe has different shades of color – what colors do you see? Notice how there are lines on the globe – what can you tell me about those lines? The globe also has words on it, is there any word you would like me to read to you? And the list of exploring the details can go on. It is all about building discussion and along the way, inviting the children to tell you what they see.

My Secondary Goal of Still Life Drawing

The secondary goal is to use the discussion on details as a means to inspire the children to draw. When inspiring the children to draw the globe, I don’t say, “Now I would like you to draw a globe.” Instead, I say, “I have paper and crayons out for you to draw some of the details you see when you look over the globe today.” Some children may very well draw a globe while others will draw the details that most interest them.

Adding still life drawing into your preschool or Pre-K classroom is a wonderful way to promote conversation about the real things in our everyday world. Where you can build on the topic using a book, even better.

The most important thing to remember…

The most important thing to remember is that the object you choose has to be somewhat inspiring in the first place. Many of my students, not all, were very interested in talking about the globe so I took advantage of their natural interest to introduce this exercise in still life drawing.

What to avoid

When setting up a still life drawing, it will be tempting to sit down with the children to draw or to model the drawing process but let me encourage you to avoid doing that. You see, when you draw, chances are your drawing will be too good and the children will want you to draw for them too. If you do want to draw with the children, be sure to only draw simple lines, shapes, details (like a child) and then talk about the details you are noticing. Don’t draw a beautiful globe as it will discourage your young drawers from drawing what they see. Keep this in mind, if the children look at your drawing and say, “Mrs. Stewart – that doesn’t look like a globe!” that is a good thing. Then you can say, “I am drawing the details they way I see them.”

Tell me in the comments!

What are some objects around your classroom or that you could bring in that would be of special interest to your students? Make a list then use those object to promote discussion about the details, then set out some paper and crayons and invite them your littles to draw. You will learn much about your students by listening to their observations and seeing the results of their drawings. Let me encourage you to not over emphasize what their drawings should be like in the end. This isn’t about drawing a perfect object – or even drawing the object at all. It is about noticing details and documenting those details in their own way based upon their interest, skills, and abilities.

Available on Amazon

Here are some globes I found on Amazon. You can use my affiliate links below to go and check them out!

Deborah J Stewart

Deborah J Stewart

Every time I think I know everything I need to know about teaching young children, God says, "Hold on a minute!" and gives me a new challenge.

Let me tell ya...

With each new challenge that you overcome, you will find yourself better equipped and more passionate about teaching young children.

God didn't call wimps to lead, teach, or care for His children. Nope, he has high expectations, so get ready. You will have to give your very best but after teaching for over 30 years, I can tell you that it is a wonderful and rewarding journey.

Whenever your calling feels hard, just remember, 'He who began a good work in you (and in the children you serve) will be faithful to complete it.'

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