One of my greatest loves for preschool and elementary art is and has always been using sketchbooks. Sketchbooks and little kids is a combination that I think gets pushed to the wayside so so often because there isn’t time to spend on the work that won’t become “finished products” and there is rarely excess space for art educators to store volumes of sketchbooks. Because time and space is limited sketchbooks often get the boot.
Today I’ve outlined why I think sketchbooks are so important and why teachers and parents should use them more!
1.Cut down on loose paper. The most common thing I hear from parents is “I’m drowning in paper!” and I totally get it. I was too! Then I taught each of my girls how and why to use a sketchbook and all their wonderful original work and creative expression slowly became organized and safe forever inside volume after volume of bound sketchbooks!
2. Sketchbooks encourage self reflection. Kids can look back through their work and think about their growth. They can remember old ideas and explore new ones. They can see progress in different skills and feel proud.
3. Sketchbooks encourage screen free time alone or as a family. Everyone needs down time and ways to “decompress” and connect. Give children one more tool for their arsenal to turn to when things are hard and their brains needs to reset.
4. Sketchbooks provide a safe space to explore new materials. Because Sketchbook pages don’t ever turn into “finished art” kids are free to experiment and explore different mark making tools, art techniques and art processes in a pressure-free environment.
Sletchbooks and little kids go together like PB & J. Discover The Little Sketchbook Squad eBook and Start Enjoying Process Art today!
5. Sketchbooks are a place to develop an idea of the artists “style” and hone in on the processes they love. See themes emerge or concentrate on an interest or particular curiosity. Bringing ideas that start inside sketchbooks out into the world is really rewarding! Sketchbooks can be thought of as rough drafts.
6. Sketchbooks can be a private place void of criticism, rules, or judgement. The pages of a child’s sketchbook can be purely experimental and loose. Each book thought of as a place to grow in their art practice and try new things.
7. Sketchbooks can be set up for kids as a fully independent activity. When tools and materials are always available it is easier for children to grab them and start creating with little to no help. The Little Sketchbook Squad eBook outlines exactly how our family organizes sketchbooking materials in a child-friendly, accessible way.
8. Working in a sketchbook gives children a way to monitor their own progress and a way to reflect on, rework or expand upon previous ideas. Too often kids do not have the opportunity to revisit old ideas, something really vital for introspective and emotional development. Allowing time and space for reflection on our own work is vital for growth! Teaching children these introspective practices with their own work helps allow for directed growth and learning as they work from page to page through their books.
9. Sketchbooks are portable! Take them with you to work outside, make art on an airplane or in a restaurant. They’re so easy to grab when running out the door. Have little ones use them during their siblings sports practices or while waiting in the pickup line. These amazing trays are great for holding supplies!
10. Sketchbooks transcend age and ability. They are good for all ages and all abilities! They’re as perfect for kids who love fairies as kids who love dinosaurs and kids who love sports. Given the right environment and attitude kids can grow up relying on sketchbooks as a creative tool of expression as much as any other art material or process.
Checkout some of my old sketchbooks– it’s still fun to go back through them!
Most of all, sketchbooks should be fun. If they become a chore or start to feel like required work, set them aside and revisit another time.
Checkout one of my favorite processes in this free sketchbook Prompt.