Teach Your Kids How to Draw with Shapes

Image of notebook with step-by-step drawing of a hippo

My 4-year-old daughter shows an interest in drawing, but she often gets frustrated because she does not know how to do it. We have some picture books with step-by-step drawing lessons in the back to teach kids how to draw the books’ main characters. One of the things I noticed about these step-by-step drawing lessons is that drawing is just connecting shapes.

By Laurie Leahey, Cook Scrap Craft

Maybe you have a frustrated artist like mine, and you may be wondering how to teach kids to draw. Even if you are not artistically inclined, it is easy to learn how to draw for kids and teach kids how to draw. It all starts with shapes.

One of the things that I like about teaching kids to draw with shapes is that, especially for younger kids, it helps them recognize shapes and practice drawing them. And, of course, any form of drawing, coloring, and writing is great for exercising fine motor skills.

Gather Your Supplies

Before you and your child begin drawing, make sure you have plenty of pencils sharpened.  Drawing with a pencil makes it easier to erase mistakes or erase lines that no longer need to be there as you join different shapes.

Blank white paper, whether construction paper or computer paper, makes an easy canvas for kids to draw on. You may want to have a lot of white paper handy in case your kid’s love of drawing and art really takes off!

And then have crayons, markers, or other art supplies handy so kids can color in and decorate their drawing.

So now you have the right supplies, but you are probably wondering, “What to draw for kids?” Try these five easy drawing tutorials for beginners.

How to Draw a House

A house is a very easy thing to start with when you are teaching your kids how to draw.

  1. First, draw a square.
  2. Then, draw a triangle on top of the square. That is the roof.
  3. Draw a rectangle for your house’s front door.
  4. Then draw either squares or circles for your house’s windows.

How to Draw a Butterfly

Something else that is really easy to draw is a butterfly. I bet you never looked at a picture of a butterfly before and saw two letter Bs. But when you break down drawing into shapes (or letters), then you start seeing them in every drawing.

  1. First, draw a big letter B. That is one half of the butterfly’s body and wings.
  2. Now draw a backward B on the other side.
  3. Use circles, triangles, or lines to decorate the wings.

How to Draw a Fish

Animals are actually very easy things to teach kids to draw with shapes. Here are the steps to draw a fish.

  1. Draw an oval on its side. That is the fish’s body.
  2. Then draw a triangle at the end for the tail.
  3. Add circles for eyes (and bubbles, of course), an upside-down U for the mouth, and half-circles for scales.

How to Draw a Jack-O-Lantern

With Halloween coming up, a fun seasonal activity is to teach your kids to draw a Jack-O-Lantern.

  1. Draw a big circle for the pumpkin.
  2. Give your pumpkin a nose and eyes by drawing triangles.
  3. The mouth can be any shape, depending on what kind of face your child wants to draw for her pumpkin. You could even help kids carve a real pumpkin using these same shapes!

How to Draw Kids

Some kids may even want to draw a self-portrait or a picture of a friend. And they can! Just remember to keep it simple, especially for younger kids. Stick arms and legs are totally fine at this age.

  1. First, draw a circle or an oval for the face.
  2. Draw a short line from the bottom of the face for the neck.
  3. The body can be a square for the torso and a rectangle for the legs. Maybe your child can draw a triangle for the body if they are drawing a girl wearing a dress.
  4. Arms and legs can be lines, and hands and feet can be small circles.
  5. Make two dots on the face for eyes, and draw a simple curved line for the mouth.
  6. Draw straight, wavy, or squiggly lines for the hair.

Practice Makes Perfect

If you are worried that your drawing skills are not up to snuff, practice a little bit before showing your kids how to draw something. There are plenty of other specific tutorials on Pinterest and YouTube.

Or you and your child can sit down together and experiment with different shapes to figure out what works best to draw whatever it is your child wants to draw. So much of art is experimentation, and there is no right or wrong way to create. Keep things positive and instead of looking at your child’s drawing and asking, “What is that?”, show interest in the picture and say, “Tell me about your picture.”

As you guide your kids through the drawing process (and polish your own drawing skills), just remember that all drawings do not have to be elaborate. It is easy to show kids how to draw when you break everything down into basic shapes.

Once kids experience an early level of success, if drawing and art is really their passion, they will be encouraged to continue and learn more.

Laurie Leahey

Laurie Leahey is a Midwest transplant living on the East Coast with her triangle family: mommy, daddy, and daughter. She is a passionate toy and baby gear product review writer for TTPM.com and writes about crafting, gluten-free food, books, and #momlife at her blog, http://cookscrapcraft.blogspot.com/. When not writing and blogging, you can find her in her craft room trying to get caught up on scrapbooking all the photos she takes.

AuthorClare

Senior public relations manager at Zulily