Scribbling Stages

Part 2 of 5 - Random Scribbling

11 January 2017


Scribbling is the beginning stage of your child’s art development. Most children begin scribbling at about 1-½ to 2 years of age. They will scribble with anything at hand and on anything nearby. Their first marks are usually an aimless group of lines. This is called disordered or random scribbling.

So, it’s important to remember that when your child starts to scribble, honor their attempts. You really don’t need to try to label their scribbles with their names or even ask for stories or titles for scribbles. That’s because it’s the process that’s important. As you observe your child scribbling, you can focus on the process by saying things like, “You covered the entire paper,” or “Your whole arm moved as you worked,” or “You moved your crayon all around and around.” These are the kinds of comments appropriate in the scribble stage because they refer to the kinesthetic or tactile process of scribbling.  

Go one step further in respecting the process of scribbling by choosing the appropriate tools for your young scribbler. It’s simple: one unwrapped, fat crayon like this and a large piece of newspaper or 9 X 12 inch piece of construction paper like this are perfect for early scribblers. Too many crayons distract the process, and small pieces of paper are hard for young scribblers to handle because their movements as you know, can’t be contained. For more ideas, check out our Preschool Materials Guide to find sources for appropriate scribbling materials.

If your child is past scribbling, what do you remember about this stage? How long did it last? What else did you notice? Let us know what you think-- you can give us your feedback right here.

Up Next - Part 3: The big step to controlled scribbling