“Look Mother! Mother Look!”: Young Children Exploring Life with Their Mother

  • Susanna KinnunenEmail author
  • Johanna Einarsdóttir
Part of the Educating the Young Child book series (EDYC, volume 12)


In this chapter, we present a study generated with young children in their home context. The focus of the study is on how young children explore and make sense of their lives through drawing stories. The chapter is based on a study that began with two sisters, Anna (3) and Maria (1.5), who made drawings of their daily lives and the changes in their lives when their younger sister was born. By examining extracts from the 5-year investigation, this chapter considers how the aesthetics and narration intertwine with the knowledge construction processes in the children’s daily lives. The research practice shifted over time from following and listening to the children’s drawing processes toward co-drawing.


Narrative research Drawing stories Spontaneous drawing Co-drawing Home context Infant-toddler drawing Children as co-researchers 



  1. Andrews, M. (2008). Never the last word: Revisiting data. In M. Andrews, C. Squire, & M. Tambokou (Eds.), Doing narrative research (pp. 86–101). London: Sage.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Anning, A., & Ring, K. (2004). Making sense of children’s drawings. Maidenhead, UK: Open University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Bentzen, W. R. (2005). Seeing young children: A guide to observing and recording behaviour (5th ed.). Pyrmont, Australia/Clifton Park, NY: Thomson/Delmar Learning.Google Scholar
  4. Boldt, G., & McArdle, F. (2013). Young children, pedagogy and the arts: Ways of seeing. In F. McArdle & G. Boldt (Eds.), Young children, pedagogy and the arts. Ways of seeing (pp. 3–18). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  5. Caine, V., Estefan, A., & Clandinin, D. J. (2013). A return to methodological commitment: Reflections on narrative inquiry. Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research, 57(6), 574–586.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Clandinin, D. J., & Connelly, F. M. (2000). Narrative inquiry: Experience and story in qualitative research. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  7. Coates, E., & Coates, A. (2006). Young children talking and drawing. International Journal of Early Years Education, 14(3), 221–241.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Coates, E., & Coates, A. (2011). The subjects and meanings of young children’s drawings. In D. Faulkner & E. Coates (Eds.), Exploring children’s creative narratives (pp. 86–110). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  9. Corsaro, W. A. (2003). “We’re friends, right?” Inside kids’ cultures. Washington, DC: Joseph Henry Press.Google Scholar
  10. Cox, S. (2005). Intention and meaning in young children’s drawing. International Journal of Art and Design Education, 24(2), 115–125.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Dewey, J. (1934). Art as experience. New York: Perigee Books.Google Scholar
  12. Di Leo, J. (1970). Young children and their drawings. New York: Brunner/Mazel.Google Scholar
  13. Einarsdottir, J., Perry, B., & Dockett, S. (2009). Making meaning: Children’s perspectives expressed through drawings. Early Child Development and Care, 179(2), 217–232.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Estola, E., Kontio, M., Kyrönniemi-Kylmänen, T., & Viljamaa, E. (2010). Ethical insights and child research. In E.-L. Kronqvist & P. Hyvönen (Eds.), Insights and outlouds: Childhood research in the North (pp. 185–201). Oulu, Finland: University of Oulu.Google Scholar
  15. Fulkova, M., & Tipton, T. M. (2011). Diversifying discourse: The influence of visual culture on children’s perception and creation of art. In D. Faulkner & E. Coates (Eds.), Exploring children’s creative narratives (pp. 133–156). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  16. Gubrium, J. F., & Holstein, J. A. (2009). Analyzing narrative reality. Los Angeles/London: Sage.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hallam, J., Lee, H., & Das Gupta, M. (2011). Painting dinosaurs: How a reception class context shapes children’s opportunities for creative expression. In D. Faulkner & E. Coates (Eds.), Exploring children’s creative narratives (pp. 111–131). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  18. Heinimaa, E. (1996). Kuvallisen kielen aakkosia tavailemassa – lapsen kokemusmaailma kuvataideopetuksen lähtökohtana [Spelling the alphabets of visual language – The children’s experiences as a starting point for teaching the visual arts]. In T. Jantunen & P. Ronnberg (Eds.), Anna lapsen leikkiä. Kirja leikistä ja lapsilähtöisyydestä (pp. 155–163). Jyväskylä, Finland: Atena.Google Scholar
  19. Holloway, S. L., & Valentine, G. (2000). Spatiality and the new social studies of childhood. Sociology, 34(4), 763–783.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Ivaskevich, O. (2006). Drawing in children’s lives. In J. Fineberg (Ed.), When we were young. New perspectives on the art of the child (pp. 45–59). London: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  21. Jolley, R. P. (2010). Children and pictures: Drawing and understanding. Chichester, UK: Wiley-Blackwell.Google Scholar
  22. Josselson, R. (2007). The ethical attitude in narrative research: Principles and practicalities. In D. J. Clandinin (Ed.), Handbook of narrative inquiry: Mapping a methodology (pp. 537–566). London/New Delhi: Sage.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Kiili, J. (2006). Lasten osallistumisen voimavarat. Tutkimus ipanoiden osallistumisesta [The power sources of children’s participation. A study of kids’ participation]. University of Jyväskylä Studies in Education, Psychology and Social Research, 283.Google Scholar
  24. Kinnunen, S. (2008). Pienten piirtäjien tarinat: Oman elämän rakentamista ja jakamista [The stories of little drawers: Constructing and sharing their life]. Unpublished master’s thesis, University of Oulu, Finland.Google Scholar
  25. Kinnunen, S. (2015). Kato papukaija! – Spontaanit piirustushetket lapsen ja tutkijan kohtaamisen ja tiedonrakentumisen tilana [Look a parrot! – Spontaneous drawing situations as a space for children and researcher’s encounters and knowledge construction]. In M. L. Böök, A. V. Kärjä, M. Mustola, & J. Mykkänen (Eds.), Visuaaliset menetelmät lapsuuden—ja nuorisotutkimuksessa (pp. 35–45). Helsinki, Finland: Nuorisotutkimusseura.Google Scholar
  26. Kinnunen, S., & Einarsdottir, J. (2013). Feeling, wondering, sharing, and constructing life: Aesthetic experience and life changes in young children’s drawing stories. International Journal of Early Childhood, 45(3), 359–385.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Knight, L. (2013). Small acts of resistance: The role of intergenerational collaborative drawing in early childhood teaching and learning. In F. McArdle & G. Boldt (Eds.), Young children, pedagogy and the arts. Ways of seeing (pp. 21–33). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  28. Koivunen, H. (1998). Hiljainen tieto luovuuden lähteenä [A tacit knowledge as a source of creativity]. In M. Bardy (Ed.), Taide tiedon lähteenä. Jyväskylä, Finland: Atena.Google Scholar
  29. Leitch, R. (2008). Creatively researching children’s narratives through images and drawings. In P. Thomson (Ed.), Doing visual research with children and young people (pp. 37–58). London/New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  30. Lieblich, A. (2014). About Amos: Reading with our heart. Narrative Works, Issues, Investigation, & Interventions, 4(1), 114–124.Google Scholar
  31. Luttrell, W. (2010). ‘A camera is a big responsibility’: A lens for analysing children’s visual voices. Visual Studies, 25(3), 224–237.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. MacDonald, A. (2009). Drawing stories: The power of children’s drawings to communicate the lived experience of starting school. Australasian Journal of Early Childhood, 34(2), 40–49.Google Scholar
  33. Malchiodi, C. A. (2001). Using drawing as intervention with traumatized children. Trauma and Loss: Research and Intervention, 1(1), 21–28.Google Scholar
  34. Martin, M. (2004). Satu elämän kosketuspintana – lapsen ja aikuisen kerronta [A story as a contacting surface of life—The narration of child and adult]. In I. Sava & V. Vesanen-Laukkanen (Eds.), Taiteeksi tarinoitu oma elämä (pp. 77–106). Jyväskylä, Finland: PS-kustannus.Google Scholar
  35. Matthews, J. (2003). Drawing and painting: Children and visual representation (2nd ed.). London: Paul Chapman.Google Scholar
  36. McLennan, D. (2010). Process or product? The argument for aesthetic exploration. Early Childhood Education Journal, 38(2), 81–85.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Merleau-Ponty, M. (2010). Child psychology and pedagogy the Sorbonne lectures 1949–1952. Translated from the French by Talia Welsh. Evanston, Ill: Northwestern University Press. [Original book: Psychologie et pedagogie de l’enfant: Cours de Sorbonne 1949–1952, Editions Verdier, 2001].Google Scholar
  38. Puroila, A. M., Estola, E., & Syrjälä, L. (2012). Does Santa exist? Children’s everyday narratives as dynamic meeting places in a day care centre context. Early Child Development and Care, 182(2), 191–206.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Ring, K. (2006). What mothers do: Everyday routines and rituals and their impact upon young children’s use of drawing for meaning making. International Journal of Early Years Education, 14(1), 63–84.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Ring, K. (2010). Drawing with seven-year-olds: Assuming the role of teacher. International Journal of Education Through Art, 2(3), 195–209.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Saarinen, J. (2003). Naistutkijat tiedemaailmassa. Kertomuksia tutkimusprosesseista [Women-researchers in the world of science. The stories of research processes]. Dissertation. Acta Universitatis Lapponiensis 57. Rovaniemi: Lapin yliopisto.Google Scholar
  42. Sava, I. (1998). Taiteen ja tieteen kietoutuminen tutkimuksessa. In M. Bardy (Ed.), Taide tiedon lähteenä. Jyväskylä, Finland: Atena Kustannus Oy.Google Scholar
  43. Sava, I. (2007). Katsomme – Näemmekö? Luovuudesta, taiteesta ja visuaalisesta kulttuurista. [We look – Do we see? About creativity, art and visual culture]. Jyväskylä, Finland: PS-kustannus.Google Scholar
  44. Spector-Mersel, G. (2010). Narrative research: Time for paradigm. Narrative Inquiry, 20(1), 204–224.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Steele, W. (2003). Using drawing in short-term trauma resolution. In C. A. Malchiodi (Ed.), Handbook of art therapy (pp. 139–151). New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  46. Striano, M. (2012). Reconstructing narrative. A new paradigm for narrative research and practice. Narrative Inquiry, 22(1), 147–154.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Syrjälä, L., Estola, E., Uitto, M., & Kaunisto, S.-L. (2006). Kertomuksen tutkijan eettisiä haasteita [Ethical challenges of a researcher of story]. In J. Hallamaa, V. Launis, S. Lötjönen, & I. Sorvali (Eds.), Etiikkaa ihmistieteille [Ethics for Human Sciences] (pp. 181–202). Helsinki, Finland: Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seura.Google Scholar
  48. Thompson, C. M. (2007). The culture of childhood and the visual arts. In L. Bresler (Ed.), International handbook of research in arts education. Part 2 (pp. 899–913). Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Veale, A. (2006). Creative methodologies in participatory research with children. In S. Greene & D. Hogan (Eds.), Researching children’s experiences: Method and approaches (pp. 253–272). London: Sage.Google Scholar
  50. Viljamaa, E. (2010). Block story: Listening to child’s narrating at home. In E.-L. Kronqvist & P. Hyvönen (Eds.), Insights and outlouds: Childhood research in the North (pp. 173–184). Oulu, Finland: University of Oulu.Google Scholar
  51. Viljamaa, E. (2012). Lasten tiedon äärellä. Äidin ja lasten kerronnallisia kohtaamisia kotona [With children’s knowledge. Narrative encounters of a mother and children at home]. Dissertation. Oulu: University of Oulu.Google Scholar
  52. Wright, S. (2010). Understanding creativity in early childhood. Meaning-making and children’s drawings. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  53. Wright, S. (2011). Meaning, mediation, and mythology. In D. Faulkner & E. Coates (Eds.), Exploring children’s creative narratives (pp. 157–176). Abingdon, UK: Routledge.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of OuluOuluFinland
  2. 2.University of IcelandReykjavíkIceland

Personalised recommendations