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Mark Making Ideas

Permalink 04/07/10 07:53, by Tikal, Categories: Toddlers, Learning Play, Child Development, Preschool Children, Kids Activities , Tags: chalk, crayons, drawing, finger paint, ideas, mark making, messy play, paper, pencils, sand, writing

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It may look like scribbles, but from a very early age, the marks that children make on a page are an important step towards learning to write and communicate.  Through their marks children are communicating their ideas, showing us how they feel and developing their own imagination.  They are also being creative no matter how messy or scribbly their picture or words look to us when they have finished.

Give your child regular opportunities to make marks, draw, scribble, make lines and create pictures - at home, in the garden, in the park, at the restaurant, in the car.  There are lots of times you can settle them down to draw and write and keep themselves entertained at the same time!

From the moment a baby holds a crayon and makes their very first mark on a page, their journey towards writing had begun.   It may not be a conventional pencil used to write on a clean sheet of paper, but there are all sorts of other ways to get babies and toddlers used to the idea of mark making.   Here are  a few ideas to begin with:

  • Salt Tray: Sprinkle salt into a tray and let your child make swirls and lines and marks. Put some tools in there too so they can use those.
  • Cornflakes: A tray of cornflakes makes a crunchy media to play with and make marks in. Listen to the noise as you crunch them and let them fall between your fingers.
  • Flour: A tray of flour is great for mark making as the lines remain. When they want a clean tray to write in, just shake it flat. Or add water making it gooey and slimy. Great fun!
  • Textured messy play: Add lentils, beads, pasta to wet flour and make it more textured.
  • Finger paint: Draw pictures and make marks with finger paints.
  • Sky write: Get children to make letters in the sky.
  • Back writing: Draw shapes on a child's back and see if they can make it out.
  • Sand tray: Draw a shape or letter in a tray of sand and get your child to trace over it.  Shake the sand flat to start again.
  • Chalk: Draw letters and patterns on a chalk board or pavement
  • Pencils and crayons: Get lots of different and fun crayons and pencils for your child to experiment with.  Each feels different and makes different marks.
  • Paper: Get different types of paper, colours, textured, lined etc and have fun working with each sort.


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Hi! I'm Tikal the Toucan, the mascot for ToucanLearn. Follow my blog to find out interesting things relating to babies, toddlers and preschool children!

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