What You Can Tell from How a Child Draws a Person

In two of my previous articles I discussed the early childhood activity of coloring. I also talked about what can be gained about a child’s ability from the way that he or she colors a picture.

During the first days of kindergarten, most children will be asked to color a picture. In addition to asking children to color a picture, they are also usually asked to draw a picture.

In fact our test that we use at the beginning of kindergarten, the Kindergarten Diagnostic Instrument (KDI), asks children to draw a picture of a person.

Again it is amazing what you can learn about a child from the way that he or she draws a picture of a person.

The picture is scored according to how many details the child puts in the picture.

The typical beginning stage of drawing a person is a head, arms, and legs. These are the body parts that children are the most aware of or become aware of first. Children who are more aware of their surroundings and of their body will add more features.

It is thought that this awareness comes with maturity.

Some children entering kindergarten are still in the phase of drawing the large head with four sticks attached as arms and legs. However, according to the scoring, this is a very low stage of drawing.

Many children are adding details by this age. They have clothes and hair on their person. The most artistic and particular children will ask to add a background to their picture. They feel that their person needs to exist in some place. They draw a sky, sun, and clouds.

Girls tend to give more details to their drawings than boys do.

Although in many cases academic abilities can be related to the stage of the drawing, I have had some very intelligent students do poor on fine motor activities such as drawing. They simply do not have an artistic side. They do not enjoy coloring or drawing.

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