In honour of National Doodle Day, I decided to write an article about doodling and the importance of it for children. Although it looks like scribbling, doodling is so much more than that. Here are some of the benefits for children in their early years, followed by a little story about how my daughter’s doodles have now become something that is making a huge difference to children…


Benefits of doodling:

Develops literacy

Doodling is actually the first step towards writing and drawing. Initially children’s drawings may seem like they lack structure, but as a child’s fine motor skills develop and their understanding of the world increases, their doodles will get more meaning. Simple doodles are the first step to writing because every shape needed to create letters will be first achieved in what seems to be a simple scribble.

Develops hand-eye coordination

The more a child doodles, the more they will develop their hand-eye coordination because they will start to develop their ability to draw an image that has a likeness to objects around them. When a child first starts attempting to draw a face, there is a process that they go through trying to determine where the different features should be. Over time they become more accurate, however, it is the early doodles that allow them to develop this skill.

Develops fine motor skills

It is crucial that children develop their fine motor skills. When a child holds mark-making tools, they are developing their ability to manipulate them. As they doodle, they see the image that they have created and then over time, develop their ability to control the outcome. By using a variety of different sized equipment such as chalk, paint brushes and pencils, children will develop their ability to manage objects of different shapes and widths.

Teaches space and distance

Children do not always understand basic concepts such as space and distance. Doodling can allow children to process this information. They will learn the difference between creating large and small objects and as they develop, they will learn the concept of space and distance in order to create an image that resembles everyday objects.

Develops imagination, creativity & builds self-esteem

Even though a child’s drawing can seem like scribbling, quite often they will be able to give you an in-depth description of what they have created. By asking open-ended questions about their work, you allow them to explore their imagination and construct a story around what they have drawn. By doing this, you will also build their self-esteem and confidence because they will feel that you see value and magic in what they have done.

From doodle to storybook…

After my first child was born, I left teaching and started to create storybooks that are now part of a collection called The Memory Box Collection. My children have always seen me drawing and creating books, so it has been fascinating watching them copy me. Even when they were tiny, they would sit next to me and mimic what I was doing. Their sweet little scribbles held such meaning to them and just taking the time to listen to what they had created, always made their faces beam with pride. I knew then how powerful this phase was and felt excited to see it all unfold.

What started as a ‘scribble’ then developed into 2 characters that my daughter created called ‘Yaryo and Looly’. She told me about these characters and that they were special. As I listened and asked her questions about them, I could see her little eyes light up. She then asked me if we could put them into my computer like I do with my drawings and make a book together. Of course, I instantly said yes. The books that I create are given to children as gifts on special occasions throughout the year by nurseries and childminders. Each one has a strong moral message and aims to develop a child’s self-awareness. I have always wanted to create a book that teaches children to accept themselves and others for who they are and to embrace their differences. This is also something that I have emphasised to my children as I never wanted them to feel that they couldn’t be their authentic self.

When I saw my daughter’s perfectly imperfect drawings, I knew that they would make the most amazing characters for a storyline about acceptance. We scanned her drawings into the computer and used software to add colour and to make them print-ready. My little girl was in control of it all. I asked her how she thought the character, Yaryo, looked different to everyone else and what his friends might say to make him feel better. It was incredible to hear her thoughts about it all, and once she had told me what she thought, I then took away what she had said and put it into a rhyming story. The end result was the most special book in the collection – one that is truly having an impact on children and making a difference.

By seeing the beauty in a scribble and encouraging my daughter to develop her own unique concept, she ended up creating something that will help so many children to accept themselves just as they are. Without the process of doodling, Yaryo and Looly would never have been created. A scribble is never just a scribble to its creator and if we can uncover the hidden meaning in it, we might just learn a thing or two from the little people in our lives.

Visit earlyyearsstorybox.com/shop for more about The Memory Box Collection. Parenta readers can get a 20% discount using the code PARENTA20.

About the author:

Stacey Kelly is a former teacher, a parent to 2 beautiful babies and the founder of Early Years Story Box, which is a subscription website providing children’s storybooks and early years resources. She is passionate about building children’s imagination, creativity and self-belief and about creating awareness of the impact that the early years have on a child’s future. Stacey loves her role as a writer, illustrator and public speaker and believes in the power of personal development. She is also on a mission to empower children to live a life full of happiness and fulfilment, which is why she launched the #ThankYouOaky Gratitude Movement.

Sign up to Stacey’s premium membership here and use the code PARENTA20 to get 20% off or contact Stacey for an online demo.




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