Drawing Prompts for Kids

Creative Drawing Ideas for Kids Drawing Prompts

Have you used drawing prompts with your kids? As one way to encourage creative drawing and the continued use of our chalkboard, I occasionally add a drawing prompt and wait for Maia, Daphne and their friends to find it.

It almost always results in a thoughtful, unique drawing that veers from the usual drawings that I see them make.

Drawing prompts are one of many creative drawing ideas for kids that gets them thinking and creating differently.

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The drawing prompts idea is something I’ve borrowed from Susan Striker’s Anti-Coloring Book series —I had one as a child! —and now the many doodle books out there. (By the way, you can find several printable pages from the Anti-Coloring Books as well as examples of what children have drawn on her website.)

Creative Drawing Prompts for Kids - Houses

What I do is begin a simple drawing on the chalkboard, and add an invitation —in this case, the question, “What is inside this house?” And then I go about my day.

Before too long, Maia notices the drawing prompt and (usually) begins to complete the drawing and answer the question or prompt in her own way. I LOVE seeing how this unfolds and love seeing the results!

Maia has drawn lots of houses, but always the exterior. With this prompt about the interior, she and Marlise drew and talked, talked and drew, until they had a house filled with furniture, people, and stories. (Working nearby and listening to their imaginations run wild as they talk and play is one of my favorite things to do.)

Would she have drawn the interior without my chalkboard prompt?

Maybe. Eventually.

For another drawing prompt, I drew five large circles/ovals on the chalkboard with the directive to “Finish the faces.”

Fill in the Faces Drawing Prompt for Kids on Paper or Chalkboard

Ed Emberley's Drawing Book of Faces

Maia enthusiastically drew in the facial features she has learned from Ed Emberley’s Drawing Book of Faces. She used some variation (eyes and hair style are different on each) and some repetition (noses and mouths are the same, albeit different colors). This was interesting for me to see, especially as she wasn’t referring to the book as she drew.

Having the prompt definitely got her thinking and drawing in a new-to-her way. It helped her to expand out of her self-defined drawing habits and ideas and try something different.

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Creative Drawing Ideas for Kids - Why You Should Offer Drawing Prompts

There are lots of other ways to encourage creative drawing and thinking. Here are some ideas that we use:

More Creative Drawing Ideas for Kids

Do you have any other drawing prompts to add to the list? Please share in the comments!

Have you tried any of these with your kids? If so, did you notice a difference in how and what they drew? Did you feel it took them outside of their usual repertoire and helped them to think and draw more creatively?

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  • Reply
    July 20, 2012 at 8:51 am

    I love this idea – we have a chalkboard in our upstairs hallway that is underused… adding a drawing prompt to it would grab the kids’ attention.

  • Reply
    July 20, 2012 at 11:24 am

    i love this jean! thank you so much. i love hearing all your thoughts about this.
    we just bought some chalkboard paint so i think we’re finally ready to dive in!

  • Reply
    July 20, 2012 at 11:32 am

    Not sure if this was on another post but my daughter’s 1st representative drawing was mostly filling in faces…I’d draw a person in fancy dress with a giant blank head on the easel, often a character from a story we’d read, and she’d fill it in when I wasn’t looking. :)

  • Reply
    July 20, 2012 at 11:49 am

    I love leaving little creative surprises around the house for kids like this! We have a chalkboard similar to yours, and lately I’ve been doing pre-writing activities with my old one, like drawing pictures and putting little letter blanks for her to fill in the word. I really like the house idea, and I’ve done the empty picture frames before with your inspiration. Thanks for the continued GREAT ideas!

  • Reply
    July 20, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    at parties my mom would give each person a piece of paper. wed have X number of minutes to draw a head with a neck. the paper was then folded down just so the neck was visible. the paper was passed and youd draw a portion of the body, again leaving just the waist visible. fold paper down. pass… and so on… once the feet were drawn, papers were unfolded and silly “people” drawings were revealed.

  • Reply
    July 20, 2012 at 12:53 pm

    These look like great books!!! Thanks for the giveaway.

  • Reply
    July 20, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    I love this. It reminds me of those doodle books by Dover Arts. Aria loves those books.

  • Reply
    July 20, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    Another great idea………I think I will start with some mazes for Naomi. Thanks!!

  • Reply
    [email protected]
    July 20, 2012 at 11:51 pm

    Love these ideas, Jean! I had anti-coloring books as a kid, too! Have you seen Taro Gomi’s book, “Scribbles”?

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    July 21, 2012 at 8:51 am

    Ours goes through phases of being underused as well (and phases of being used all.the.time). You’re right — a prompt like this helps it get used again.

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    July 21, 2012 at 8:52 am

    Yay! What are you thinking?

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    July 21, 2012 at 8:52 am

    Fun! I like how she’d fill it in when you weren’t looking. :)

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    July 21, 2012 at 8:53 am

    You’re welcome, Molly! I like your pre-writing activity idea!

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    July 21, 2012 at 8:54 am

    We used to play that drawing game a lot when I was a kid, too! Especially every time we got together with extended family — my grandma, great aunt, and uncle were all artists.

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    July 21, 2012 at 8:55 am

    I’ve seen a lot of different doodle books, but didn’t realize Dover made some too.

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    July 21, 2012 at 8:55 am

    Have fun! Mazes are one of Maia’s favorites.

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    July 21, 2012 at 8:56 am

    I’ve seen it, but we don’t have it. Do you?

  • Reply
    July 22, 2012 at 2:30 am

    I follow your blog and love seeing all your amazing art ideas. I just want to say, you are so cool! I love this prompt and can imagine any kid wanting to fill in the inside of that house.

  • Reply
    July 24, 2012 at 8:57 am

    I love your ideas for encouraging kids’ creativity so much that I had to post them on my blog! Thank you so much for the inspiration. You can see my post at http://www.happydoodles.com/blogs/news/6325998-easy-and-fun-ideas-for-encouraging-kids-to-draw

  • Reply
    D. S. Jackson
    February 27, 2018 at 4:59 pm

    How about a short poem excerpt as an art prompt? Kids can create their own unique picture story inspired by the words. Here is an example titled, “Four Little Bunnies”: “Smidgen, Meek, Wallop, and May, / Four little bunnies together at play. / Smidgen the smallest a bit of a sneak, / Is followed adoringly by his friend Meek. / Wallop the largest stands up for the rest. / Dear May keeps them all out of trouble the best.” ~ D. S. Jackson, author of The Secret of Santa’s Songbird.

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