Pre-school: Mark Making

Mark making refers to the creation of different patterns, lines, textures and shapes and is used to describe the scribbles that early years children make with pens, pencils or crayons. However, this doesn’t just refer to squiggles made with stationery, children are still making marks if they use their hands, paintbrushes or sticks.

This gives children the opportunity to express themselves and explore new materials other than pen and paper. At pre-school we encourage children to create marks using their fingers to draw in the sand, paint on an easel or prod them into soft dough. This activity isn’t just bound to the indoors either – we mirror this provision outside with the children, exploring the natural world and taking mark making to the next level; letting them drag a stick through the mud or go wild with colours with a jumbo chalks.

Mark making is a really important 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. It can also represent a child’s thoughts and ideas; giving them the opportunity to express themselves creatively and allowing 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.

By giving children the opportunity to explore different mediums of mark making, they engage in sensory play which 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.