Mark Making – Child

ETTS Mark Making ChildAs coordination increases and your child’s way of holding mark makers becomes more mature, they will purposefully draw images and produce more precise and varied work. The more enjoyable the activity is, the more your child will practice and the more their skill will develop.

Did you know?

Choosing tools that work easily really matters! Children will enjoy the activity more and draw for longer when the crayon, marker, pencil or chalk chosen works easily and produces clear marks. This also helps them develop greater skills in the future as they move towards writing.

Add language

Having your child explain how they created their masterpiece or tell the story behind their picture gives your child practise at more complex language. Try asking open questions (e.g. what, how, why, describe…) and showing lots of interest and see where it leads!

Other development

Using drawing tools helps your child to develop a preferred hand (left or right). It also builds the hand strength needed to both use the tool with one hand and stabilise the activity with the other hand.


Tracing and colouring can be good practice for fine motor skills but it has to be fun for your child or they won’t stick with it.

It is most useful to provide lots of opportunities for free creative play that includes mark making. This can be done through providing lots of variety of mark making

tools and things to make marks on. Try to make books, paper, and writing materials available and fun. Why not use chalk, glitter glue, stamping or writing in sand to get them to ‘make their mark’ and develop precise hand skills!

Making their own wrapping paper and greeting cards gives your child a sense of pride, purpose and achievement.

Carrying a small pack of crayons and pad of paper in your bag can be handy for keeping your child playfully occupied while waiting when you are out and about.


Non-toxic materials and supervision are important for your child’s safety (and for your walls!). This can be a good opportunity to talk about where we can make our mark, where we shouldn’t make marks and why!

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 babies, toddlers and playgroups.

Activities listed under “children” are suitable for children 3 years and older. Children of this age enjoy more complex activities where they can develop their skills and use their imagination while playing with friends.