We don't bat an eye at exposing our babies to the likes of Beethoven and Bach, even from birth. But just when is the right time to introduce your child to the kind of artistic expression that involves finger paint, glue, and glitter? Most pediatricians, art teachers, and parents agree that exposing babies and toddlers to art is an important part of their physical and emotional development.
If you’re wondering just when to expect that first crayon scribble or when actual shapes will emerge, the homework has already been done for you. According to Dr. Karen Ytterberg, a pediatrician with the Mayo Clinic, art abilities unfold in fairly predictable and universal patterns. She says the following milestones are widely accepted in the medical community. During patient visits, she asks parents if their children have mastered these skills.
- Makes a crayon mark: 12 months
- Scribbles in imitation: 15 months
- Imitates stroke: 2 years
- Copies a circle: 3 years
- Identifies some colors: 3 years
- Draws a cross: 4 years
- Draws a triangle: 5 years
- Draws a diamond: 6 years