Mark Making with Toddlers
In Rabbits Room & Owls Room (1-2 years), the children got very creative with various crayons, pens and pencils. Zalihe decided to cover the floor in paper, and stick it down so it isn’t easily moved. She then found lots of mark making materials and put them on the paper, this instantly made the children curious and resulted in them all crowding around the activity. Saphari picked up the pencils and started feeling the tips, she said “Look, Draw” and begun drawing on the paper. Saphari knew how to hold the pencil correctly and showed a steady hand when doing so. Vinnie noticed Saphari drawing and observed how she was holding the pencil. He then picked up a pencil, and copied, whilst looking back at Sapharis hand. Lily picked up a few pencils and threw them in the air, they all landed back on the paper and Lily said “Wow!, Callum laughed at Lily and repeated the action, this time both Callum and Lily threw the pencils together. Lily started drawing big circles on the paper, Gemma encouraged this and started speaking about the size of the circle “Big, Small, Little” and Lily continued to draw.
How does this support the children’s development?
Mark making in general is massively supporting a child’s development, all the way through the activity. First of all, by making marks with objects, it is strengthening their gross motor skills which strongly support’s their Physical Development. Secondly, the children are all communicating with each other and laughing about the activity, they are also copying each other’s movements and learning certain things from one another. This supports their Personal, Social, Emotional Development as they are all creating bonds and relationships from an activity. They are using their peers to share their emotions such as laughing and they are showing confidence when doing so. Next, the children are repeating words and phrases heard by others, which supports their Communication and Language Development.
Why is mark making important for children’s development?
For children, writing is a whole new skill requiring time, practice and encouragement. The skill of writing begins with mark making. As well as enabling a child to learn to write, making marks can benefit a child physically, and also help to develop their imagination and creative skills. Children may use mark making as a way of sharing their thoughts and feelings with adults around them, telling stories as they draw or sharing their completed pictures with others offering an insight into what it represents. Mark making opens the door for children to express themselves in a completely new way, offering them the opportunity to express their feelings and thoughts without relying solely upon verbal communication.
Mark making activities to try at home
Making marks in sand- Fill a tray with sand, and then allow your child to use their fingers to create marks and get creative.
Simple Painting- Just using a paintbrush and paint can improve your child’s mark making skills, it allows them to hold the brush- strengthening their gross motor skills and making the marks on the paper, enhances their imagination.
Pens, Pencils and Crayons- Like the activity we have done in the toddler room, you can provide your child with a variety of mark making tools and allow them to choose what they want to use and what marks they want to make.
In all of these activities, you should encourage and praise the child during the activity. To extend the activity and stimulate your child further, ensure you are speaking to them about the colours, shapes, sizes, what they are drawing etc to get involved as much as you can, this gives the child extra support when carrying out the activity.