North Carolina Early Learning and Development Progressions: Birth to Five

Domain: NC Foundations for Early Learning: Cognitive Development (CD)

Subdomain: Creative Expression

Goal: Children demonstrate self-expression and creativity in a variety of forms and contexts, including play, visual arts, music, drama, and dance.

Skill Progression: Art

Age: 33-36 Months

Click here to go to all skills for ages 33-36 Months.

Constructs structures or items for dramatic play (e.g., makes box into a car)

Situations for Observation of Skill

Observe the child’s ability to conceptualize and create a product using different materials. Provide a variety of materials for construction and art projects. Try to do a construction that can also involve drawing to combine skills.

Elicitation Strategy

Engage the child in play with blocks or dramatic play. Look for an opportunity to have the child create something to enhance the play. For example, if playing with toy cars and trucks, the adult could suggest, “I have an idea, let’s MAKE a car! Here is a big box we could make into a car. And we have paper, scissors, paper plates, crayons! Hmm. What does our car need first?” During this (or a similar activity related to the child’s play) the child will need to draw, cut, glue, etc., enabling the adults to see many skills.

Behavior Observed

The child thinks of aspects that are needed and draws or uses parts or materials to build an item for dramatic play. The item can be simply a house made from blocks and a sign for the building.

Routines-based Intervention (Embedded Instruction)

Boxes are the best! Tell parents to save boxes for their multiple creative uses. They can be big or small. Children will find creative play uses: a doll bed, a house, a space ship, etc. Parents can also save other materials for children to include in art projects or dramatic play. For example, in addition to paper and crayon, provide items that can be glued together, magazine pictures, fabric, cereal shapes, noodles, and so on.

 North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, 2015

©2015 by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit