Scribbles begin to take on configuration of shapes as children's physical and mental development progresses. There are six basic shapes that are suggested in children's early art:
2) ovals, including circles
4) Greek cross (+)
5) diagonal cross (x)
6) odd shape
These shapes will appear to be rather mixed up with scribbles or with one another.
By age three, children will begin to make basic shapes spontaneously, as their perceptual and memory skills help them to form, store, and retrieve concepts about shapes quite early. Their shapes usually evolve from their earlier scribbles.
Attempts at making ovals and circles is likely to appear earlier than other shapes and it is suggested that this is due to the preferred attention of the human face.
Above is a drawing by a girl of three years. Notice that her scribbles are all in the form of circle as she does not yet have the capacity to draw the other basic shapes.
Memory development is evident at this age as children retrieve the circle or oval from their scribbles to repeat it in their next drawings. They make the basic shape because they remember it from their scribblings, not because they are trying to imitate a shape from their environment.
As three and four year olds progresses from the circle and oval shape to the rectangular shape, their first creation of retangles are created by drawing a set of parallel vertical line and then adding a set of horizontal lines on top; they do not draw in a continuous line to try to form the perimeter of the rectangle.
Young children should be given an abundance of time and opportunity to practice on their drawings because as they practice, they are in the process of teaching themselves how to draw.
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