“Before a child talks they sing. Before they write they draw. As soon as they stand they dance. Art is fundamental to human expression.” -Phylicia Rashad.
Teaching children (3 to 5 years) to write is a humongous task, but teaching children to draw is the easiest. If we look at alphabets and numbers, it is all about lines and shapes. Have you ever asked your children to draw alphabets and numbers? We always say write alphabets and numbers. Just change the word ‘write’ to ‘draw’ and see the difference. For instance, Alphabet A has 3 lines with a triangle shape, number 8 is just 2 circles.
One of the fun way to teach toddlers write is ‘shapes’. They love lines and shapes. They can recognise shapes as early a 1 year old. For the first time when they hold a pencil they either scribble (in form of circles or lines) or just draw a line. So, guiding them to draw shapes at an early age helps them to identify shapes and lines in alphabets and draw them easily.
Line, Shapes and Warli Art
Learning shapes can be made more interesting and fun with Warli painting. Warli painting is a tribal art originated in Maharashtra and it is still practiced today. Created by tribal people from the North Sahyadri Range in India, Warli art depicts everyday life. Centered around the concept of Mother Nature, elements of nature are depicted in Warli painting. Warli artists use their clay huts as the backdrop and use white pigment made from a mixture of rice paste and water, with gum as a binder to paint. A bamboo stick is chewed at the end to give it the texture of a paintbrush. Walls are painted only to mark special occasions such as weddings or harvests.
Warli artist use shapes like circle, triangle, square and lines to depict their paintings. These shapes are found in nature. Sun, moon are round in shape, mountains are triangular in shape. Square represent the piece of land that provides shelter and food.
Learn shapes with Warli art
Just making children write few circles and triangles will bore them. Turn them to an artist instead by asking your children to draw Warli art with shapes. Outcome- they learn to draw shapes and also an Indian folk art.
- Brown or any dark coloured KG cardboard
- White pen (get it in any stationary store)
How to go about:
- Children love to draw something they relate. Like their favourite toy, their house, family members, pets, sun, moon and stars, barbie doll, etc. Find out your child’s favourites. Show a Warli painting and ask them to identify shapes.
- Don’t let your child draw alone. It’s time for parents to be an artist too. Take 2 A4 size KG cardboard. One for yourself and one for child.
- Discuss with your child about what to draw. If your child wants to draw a house, even you draw a house in your sheet and let the child draw it in her/his own way with shapes.
- Children love to work along with parents and discuss with your child how to draw each element. For instance, if you want to draw a house, ask your child what shapes make up house.
Below work is done by my 4 year old son and myself.