Preschematic Stage of Drawing for Children
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Preschematic Stage of Drawing for Children

A child goes through several developmental stages in every area of life, including art. As these little ones go through these stages, they start to explore their creativity and hone their developing skills.

Although a child goes through different stages of artistic development, my focus here is the preschematic step. This stage occurs when a kid is between four and seven years of age. 

As you read on, you’ll discover the intricacies of this stage and how different kids express it in their unique ways.

What’s the Preschematic Stage of Drawing?

The preschematic stage is an artistic level of development in kids marked by the appearance of lines and circles to represent a human or animal figure. Images look more like symbols than actual pictures; usually, only these kids can make sense of the diagram. This stage usually suggests that a child’s visual idea (schema) is developing or developed.

Kids hardly understand space at this stage; objects are laid out in a haphazard way in every picture. Therefore, you might notice that shapes have no baseline and look like they’re floating.

Plus, when it comes to color, children are prone to be more emotional than logical. However, the use of colors at this stage is usually more realistic than in the previous artistic development stage, i.e., the scribble stage. 

The highlight of the preschematic stage is the tendency for kids to create tadpole diagrams. This refers to figures that have no necks and arms that sprout from their heads.

Kids at this level of artistic development can hardly separate reality from fantasy. So, they tend to create an alternate viewpoint to make sense of the world around them. This is also the time that they start developing distinct personality traits.

Characteristics of the Preschematic Stage

These are some of the prominent features of the preschematic stage:

  • Bold marks
  • Objects float on the page
  • The use of letters and numbers
  • Papers may be rotated or turned while drawing
  • Distorted images and omission of some body parts
  • Color is used to indicate differences; it’s also used for personal interest or pleasure
  • Simple geometric or circular shapes
  • Closed shapes

Preschematic Art Stage and Brain Development

The preschematic stage of art is a sign that a kid has reached a certain level of brain development. While the left brain is in charge of linear thinking, math, and rational thought, the right brain handles creativity. Therefore, the preschematic stage of a child’s development stimulates the visual cortex and promotes the use of their creative right brain.

So you should encourage your kids to take this stage seriously by involving them in several hands-on activities. This will boost self-confidence as well as cognitive development. According to experts, simple hands-on activities are a great way to aid brain development.

Some of these activities may include organizing objects based on shape or color, picking leaves off the ground while taking a walk, or building with blocks. All these will come together to stimulate the left and right sides of the brain, leading to healthy development in the child. 

You can read more about the benefits of drawing here.

Preschematic Stage of Drawing for Children

Art Activities for Children at the Preschematic Stage

Here are some art activities your little one could do at this stage:

Nature Collage

Nothing beats combining science and art, especially for brain development. This is why nature collage comes in handy. Start by encouraging kids to go out with a basket to pick up objects they find along the way. You can also discuss different animals and plants they see, which will stimulate their preoperative brain.

Afterward, let them get a large sheet of colored construction paper and allow them to glue the picked objects in any preferred order. Leaving them to do this will help with their cognitive development.

Once they’ve completed that step, you can give them a marker to carefully outline the objects in the collage, knowing fully well that this will allow the kids to hone their fine motor skills.

Finally, you can help the kids write a short story about exploring nature based on real events or fiction.

Family Portrait

This activity involves getting a child to make a family portrait using a real photograph. This means the child needs to have a picture with which they can work. Before starting anything, discuss the people in the photo with the kid, encouraging them to highlight their outstanding features and characteristics. This way, you’re helping them to develop their observational skills.

You can read more about the developmental stages of drawing a person here.

Then, give your child markers to draw the portrait—the markers will help them create bold and strong lines. Leave them to freely express their preschematic talents, even if the results aren’t representational. 

During this step, you can ask your kid about the various colors they’re using for their drawing, which will help improve their color recognition skills, as well as encourage cognitive development.

The final step is to assist your child in writing a few lines about their completed family portrait. This will allow the left brain to work hand in hand with the creative right brain. You can also ask specific questions to streamline their thoughts.

Encouraging kids to share stories about their artwork will boost their feelings of self-worth.


Overall, you can tell that the three primary symbols in the preschematic stage include simple human figures, radials or circles, and letter or number shapes. And as these kids continue experimenting with these symbols to create stories and pictures, new ones may appear.

You can incorporate several drawing classes in your kid’s playtime to help them get better at this stage.

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