Charcoal Drawing – Process Art for Preschool

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Children love discovering and experimenting with various types of art mediums. Using charcoal for creative self-expression is a different experience from working with paint, markers, or pastels. A. was fully engaged in the process of learning fun ways to use charcoal for drawing.

As usual, our primary focus was to enjoy the process and give my preschooler an opportunity to participate in an open-ended art activity where she could take complete control and help her develop fine motor skills.

“The Montessori environment promotes the use of nature in activities”(source) Majority of our art activities are done outside and are inspired by nature. You probably have read about shadow art or done it before with children in your classroom. Charcoal is great for drawing on concrete. So, first, we went outside looking for shadows to experiment with tracing it.

Charcoal is also very effective for leaf rubbing activity.
Here is what we did:
– collected leaves – this was the creative part when the kid got to choose what shapes of leaves she wanted to use and how she would like to arrange them;
– folded A3 paper in half and A made a leaf collage gluing leaves to the bottom part of the paper;


– then we covered it with the top piece of paper and masked it with tape it to the table
– A had a go at rubbing leaves with charcoal and saw the magic of leaf shapes appearing on paper uncovered.

The important thing we discovered is not to press too hard when rubbing, otherwise, prints do not come out very clear. Dried leaves and flowers will work beautifully with this activity as well!


The most attractive and preferred charcoal activity was a simple free drawing. As my daughter learns how to manipulate and effectively use a different medium, it becomes available to her. Now she can access it with other familiar art materials freely whenever she wants.

You are welcome to visit earlier posts dedicated to 30 Days of Creativity and Art.

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  About Anastasia. Anastasia is a former Early Childhood Teacher and the founder of Montessori Nature, a blog about Montessori - inspired and Nature-based explorations. She taught in a Montessori setting for 10 years and has been practicing the Montessori way of learning and living for the last 20 years. She loves designing engaging educational printables for children. Browse Anastasia's educational resources on Teachers Pay Teachers.

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