This is precisely the point of this article/interview on NPR with Mo Willems, a children's author and cartoonist. (originally posted on Soulemama here) The article starts with, "Somewhere along the way, we all were artists. Everyone picks up crayons or chalk as toddlers, but at some point, we just stop drawing." And Mo thinks it is a pity.
I have watched James's interest in coloring and drawing grow over the past two years. At any given time, there are at least three notebooks around our house open to a page full of his drawings. Lately I have wondered if all children enjoy drawing the way he does. I love to watch him concentrate on a picture, then come and show it to me fully convinced that it is the best armadillo/spaceship/wolverine claw he has ever seen. I really want to find ways to encourage this talent and his desire to create, and this article has a great idea.
Mo, "reminds us that parents are actually cool in kids' eyes — for a while — and kids want to imitate what they do. If your kid comes home from school and you say, 'I'll be right with you; I'm just finishing a doodle,' the kid's going to go, 'Dude, I want to do that, too!' " He also suggests making drawing a family activity, and calls the event a family draw. Love that.
So if I want James to keep drawing, I have to show him that I like to draw. In spending time drawing and coloring with my kids, I have actually found that it is an activity that I really do enjoy. (So I won't be faking it like when I fake that I enjoy playing with Ben 10 figurines and making shooting and blowing up noises.)
The other night we tried the family draw. It turned out to be a lot of fun, and hopefully it is something we can do regularly. So even if I'm not convinced that my ladybug/caterpillar/tree isn't the best I've ever seen, I'm going to keep at it and hopefully my boys will do the same.