The Meaningful Scribbles Project

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I’m looking for help creating a series of photo galleries here at Playvolution HQ that show the development of children’s drawing/writing from the time they can first hold a crayon until the age of eight or nine years. I want to share how random scribbles develop month-by-month into recognizable images and words. This collection of images will be a valuable resource for parents and caregivers. (Hat tip to the work and memory of Rhoda Kellogg, author of Analyzing Children’s Art.)

I’d like to collect 1000 or more images. That breaks down to about 10 pictures for each month in age from infancy to age nine. My goal is to have ten samples from 13-month-olds, ten samples from 14-month-olds, etc. It’s a lofty goal, but it’s doable if even a handful (maybe two handfuls) of people jump in and take part.

Here are some details:

We’re looking for

  • Drawings that children have done on their own. (We’re not looking for creations that were the result of an assignment or made specifically for this project.)
  • Drawings done in pencil, crayon, marker, or pen. (If this project is successful, we’ll do another one where we collect mixed-media creations involving gluing, paint, scissors, etc.)
  • Drawings where the child’s exact age in months at the time of creation is known. (A major component of the project is to accurately represent children’s abilities at specific ages. Images done weeks or years in the past are welcome as long as you’re sure of the child’s age when created.)
  • Drawings that I have permission to use and share online and in presentations. I need permission from the photographer to use the photo and expect that the photographer has any other permissions necessary before sharing it for use in this project. (The photographer still maintains copyright.)

Photo Quality

I’m looking for the clearest, highest resolution pictures of the children’s creations possible because such images will offer the best viewing experience and show the most detail. As the project progresses, I’ll add examples to this gallery:

Submission Process

The process is pretty simple. Click the button below to open the submission form. We ask for some basic info about the submitter and some basic information about the child. You’re able to upload a single image in jpg, jpeg, or png formats. You can also opt to join a project mailing list and stay up to date on how it unfolds. The form allows one image per submission, but you can make as many submissions as you like.

Sharing Is Important

You can help this project along by sharing this article with people who may be willing and able to submit images. The only way it succeeds is if enough interested folks know about it. And sharing is easy, scroll down to the share buttons below the submission form.

Thoughts, Comments, and Questions Welcome

Use the comments section below to share thoughts and comments or ask questions about the project.

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Jeff is an early learning speaker, toymaker, podcaster, content creator, author, and founder of Playvolution HQ who is really bad at getting his picture taken.

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Hi, quick question about the meaningful scribbles project.
By when would you like the photos?
We do a drawing and painting book per child per year. And it is amazing to see their skills develop over the year. As our year just started, I don’t have a huge collection of examples right now. But I can ask a last year’s parent to borrow their child’s book.

Can it be a collection of one child’s or rather different children preferred.

I’m in Australia, does it make a difference with the postal code?