In this blog we are going to take a closer look at what mark-making is and how you can help your child develop the early skills needed to start writing, develop mathematical understanding, creative expression, art and drawing.
A multitude of tools and resources are used by children to make marks, and these 'scribbles' play an important role in their development of hand-eye coordination, which is fundamental for handwriting. Mark making is primarily a sensory experience for young children, but as they develop, they begin to comprehend that marks can have meaning.
Marks are made by children as soon as they can control the movements of their hands and feet, whether it's swirling food around on their plate or picking up a crayon, pressing it down and watching colour appear.
Developing the ability to hold a pencil and make marks that eventually lead to writing is a complex process. A child's mark-making process moves through several stages. Initially, it is a physical activity. It begins with large movements using the shoulder, wrist, hand, and then fingers. Initially, children grasp tools with their whole hands, moving their arms from the shoulder, over time, this becomes more refined until they hold pencils between their thumbs and index fingers.
The aim of making marks for children of any age is to explore textures, and emotions, and express themselves and make sense of the world before and alongside using symbols to convey and represent messages. Marks can be made inside and outside.
By asking your child what they are doing and describing what you can see, you will show them that these marks are important and that you value them. You should value any mark-making your child brings home from their setting and share any mark-making they do at home. The most important thing is to have fun!
How can you support your child?
Provide lots of different mark-making materials, in various shapes and sizes.
Provide different types of media for your child to make their mark - paper, chalkboards, sandpits, flour, Wedge White Boards
Put some paint in a tray, roll cars through it, and then roll them on paper.
Have a bucket of water with large brushes and a selection of sponges for making marks on hard surfaces or outside walls.
Gather seasonal natural materials to inspire mark-making, such as leaves, fir cones, and dried flowers. Do leaf rubbings, flower pressing and collages. Try using flowers and twigs as mark-making tools and brushes.
Strengthen the muscles in your child’s arms and hands by providing activities such as playdough, threading, picking up small objects, making shapes in the air with a wand, and dancing with a ribbon in their hand.
Ice cakes and biscuits, letting your child explore the different colours and how the icing blends together.
Cover a flat tray with either sand, salt, shaving foam, or sugar. Use fingers and combs to make marks.
Children just love messy activities - exploring mark-making using materials such as jelly, shaving foam, cornflour and water, and wallpaper paste.
Share with your child the importance of print. Words on food packets and street signs as well as numbers and letters on car registrations and buses all carry meaning.
Ensure that your child is supervised carefully, and that you are aware of whatever they may put into their mouths. The most important thing is to have fun making marks together!