Four years old children like doodling a lot more than in previous age. If we give them paper or other media, they will be likely to doodle. Some children even like doodling on the wall. From my teaching experience, I assume that doodling is like a trademark of four years old children. It doesn’t mean that children in other age don’t like to doodle. Yet, at the age of 4, doodling as if starts to rise and reaches its peak. Why it is so? There are factors which cause it:
First, they have stored many information which they get from their senses and have had some knowledge. In doodling case, the related information is images, while the related knowledge is about the activities people do and one of them is doodling. As it’s children’s nature wanted to explore everything they know/ learn, they would likely want to try doodling. Yet, this alone is not enough.
Second, the willingness to doodle is also supported by their gross and fine motor development at the age of 4. When a child doodle, he transforms the image in the brain into pictures. There is process a child goes through before a picture is drawn. The image that kept in the memory is transmitted to the part of the brain which controls gross and fine motor muscles. The transmission makes the muscles moved and drawn the image. This action requires muscles control and strength, especially when the image is small and detail. Yet, the gross and fine motor muscles of 4 years old children have enabled them to do it. So, when they doodle, they won’t get tired easily as in previous ages and the pictures they’ve drawn may be close enough with their imagination (in their point of view). This will give them sense of satisfaction which will make them wanting to do it again as they’ve found new ability to explore.
When children doodle, there are advantages they get. They can:
- Learn to transform what they see into pictures. This will enhance their shape recognizing and observing ability which will be useful later on in math and science lessons.
- Strengthen their muscles. The more they doodle, the more they use their gross and fine motor muscles. Those will be stronger, if they are used often. This will be a good basic for them before learning how to write, as writing is a more difficult task which requires more concentration and muscles’ strength. So, doodling can be a bridge into learning how to write.
- Enhance memory. When they doodle, they do not always draw what they see at the moment. They mostly draw the image that has kept in the memory. So, when they want to doodle something, they have to bring out the image they want to draw from their memory. This will activate the neurons in the brain. As those same as muscles, the more they are used, the more they will be strengthen. The strength neurons will be considered important by the brain and the information that is kept in those will be put at the front of memory storage. The memory that is kept at the front will be brought out fast when it’s needed. This is what the memory enhancement meant.
- Stimulate creativity and imagination. As the brain developed, children’s cognitive skills will improve, too. This will bring out ideas which needs to be expressed. And doodling can be a mean for self expression.
- Practice to sequence things or events in the form of picture. Every pictures has its own story. When a child doodles, there must be sequences that he arranges in his brain. This ability to make sequences will be very useful later on when they learn to make writing.
Due to the advantages, therefore it’s good to support doodling they like. The kind of support is by:
- Providing many stock of paper. When children like doodling, the paper will run out easily. So, it will be good to have stock, in case they need them. Though, we can not only use new paper but used paper ,which the other side is still blank, as well.
- Providing doodling board where marker can be dry quickly and be erased (Giving different media will enrich children’s experience in doodling. Rich experiences will activate many neurons at the brain and this is one good way to enhance memory, too).
- Allowing children to draw on the wall (if possible). Children like to do this, which is not always something we like. Yet, instead of forbid them to do it, it’s better if we give space on the wall where they can doodle. On the other hand, give them understanding that they can only doodle on the space provided. This will make them learning not to doodle anywhere they like. Use wall paint which enables crayons or paint to be wiped out.The use of washable crayons, marker or paint will make the wall cleaning easier. So the wall can be used over and over.
- Providing sketch board when children travel. Therefore, they can doodle anywhere they like.
- Last but not least and the most important is appreciating what your children draw by being interested of what they draw and listening the story they tell about every pictures they’ve drawn. Our attention and appreciation will make them happy and have sense of confident which make them wanting to doodle again and again. And the repeated action will make our children get the most advantages of doodling.
So, let your children doodle 🙂