I’ve always tried to encourage my kids to doodle, draw, and sketch. Not only does it improve their fine motor coordination and hand grip, as well as enhance their powers of observation and creativity, but it also is just a handy skill to have in so many walks of life (science, architecture, engineering, business meetings,…). I was so chuffed when a professor of geology once gave a presentation to a meeting of the Northern Virginia Mineralogy Club and mentioned that he made all of his students sketch rock formations when they started field work.
My oldest son used to enjoy painting but always balked at drawing. I think it reminds him too much of handwriting. My daughter doesn’t have that hang up, though; she loves doodling and coloring. As part of her daily “writing” assignments, therefore, I assign her a page from Taro Gomi’s Doodle All Year.
I’ve been a fan of Taro Gomi since high school when I first encountered Everyone Poops. For such a prolific illustrator, you know he must doodle — a lot. He has several doodling books and all feature unfinished drawings with simple prompts. The page might be filled, for example, with an empty bowl that he challenges you to fill with a hearty soup.
I leave it up to my daughter how she responds to the prompt. She usually follows directions as a matter-of-factly but occasionally a prompt will fire her imagination, and she’ll have to tell me the whole story behind her illustration. I hope it leads to a lifetime love of sketching.
A great alternative to doodling books like Taro Gomi’s are art prompt challenges, like the one hosted monthly by Tinkerlab.