Mark Making – Baby

ETTS Mark Making BabyMaking marks with crayons, chalk or other materials is the beginning of written communication. It is a first step in developing hand skills to enable this to occur. As your baby grows they will love working out that the colourful chunky crayon leaves a mark on paper.

Did you know?

Babies often first realise they can make a mark with food! This first step is as important a milestone as walking.

Add language

Copying your child’s actions and sounds when they make a mark can become a fun turn-taking game. Taking turns is the start of having conversations! It also shows your baby that what they are doing is important.

Label your own simple ‘marks’ e.g. ‘Dot, dot, line, line’, ‘Look – a circle’, ‘It’s a face’. This helps your baby start to make early connections between spoken language and written symbols.

Other development

As your baby figures out what crayons can do they learn about cause and effect.

Using chunky chalk or crayons rather than fine pencils is important in helping your baby’s early grasp. At first your baby will just hold and explore the crayon and perhaps put it in their mouth so make sure it is non-toxic! The first mark may be accidental. By showing an interest in the mark and what the crayon can do will encourage your baby to repeat this action.


Using fingers to draw in bath foam, bubbles or perhaps mist on the bathroom mirror can all be fun ways to try out making a mark!


Use non-toxic materials and supervise your baby so mark making stays where you want it to!

Across the ages

All the activities listed on our “Play Ideas” page can be applied across different age groups. See how mark Making can be fun for toddlers, children and playgroups.

Activities listed under “baby” are suitable for children under 12 months. This age is largely about babies exploring their own bodies and the world around them from the safety of a close relationship with their caregiver.