Mark making is much more than just a scribble! Babies and toddlers learn and begin to make sense of the world through mark making. It is the beginning of a child’s journey towards writing and is an important step in a child’s development for handwriting, creativity and coordination. Initially children take pleasure from the physical activity of mark making, but as they develop, they realise that they can control their marks and their creativity starts to thrive.
What is mark making?
Mark making simply refers to the creation of different patterns, lines, textures and shapes. This term is typically used to describe the scribbles that early years children make on a piece of paper with pens, pencils or crayons. However, mark making doesn’t just refer to squiggles made with stationery, children are still mark making if they use their hands, paintbrushes or sticks.
Mark making gives children the opportunity to express themselves and explore new materials other than pen and paper. We encourage our children to create marks using their fingers to draw in the sand, paint on an easel or prod them into soft dough. Mark making isn’t just bound to the indoors either we head outside with the children to explore the natural world and take mark making to the next level! We let them drag a stick through the mud or go wild with colours with a jumbo chalk or paint brush!
Why is mark making so important?
A step towards writing…
Research has shown that mark making is crucial for a child’s development and learning. It not only teaches young children how to hold a pen correctly, but it also prepares them for writing and develops their handwriting skills.
When children are making these early marks, they are practising to hold a pencil and are attempting to control their marks with their muscles. This enhances their physical development by improving their fine motor skills and helps to develop their hand-eye coordination.
Mark making can also represent a child’s thoughts and ideas. It gives children the opportunity to express themselves creatively and allows them to communicate their feelings through their drawings or even use their marks to tell a story! As they develop, their marks become more complex and sophisticated and their creativity blooms.
Brain and language development
By giving children the opportunity to explore different mediums of mark making, it engages them in sensory play and allows them to discover new exciting materials. This helps to enhance a child’s critical thinking, brain development and language development, which gives them the ability to build towards more complex learning tasks in the future. These marks can also support emerging concepts of maths, developing into mathematical representation and enhancing learning.
We promote mark making at all opportunities with the children and for a real purpose. The images below show some snap shots of the type of mark making that you would see within our Nursery. We also run a weekly Wiggle while you Squiggle program which is aimed specifically at developing the children gross and fine motor skills to build towards the skills of writing.