Why Mark Making Is So Brilliant For Babies, Toddlers, Pre-Schoolers… And Parents!

Messy Play and Mark Making is a fun and educational, good for physical development and is a fantastic bonding activity for parents and children too! Read on to discover more about messy play, mark making, drawing and colouring!

One of the many brilliant benefits of messy play for both parents and practitioners is that messy play is very much child led. This allows children to develop their imagination and allows parents to see how their little minds tick as they play. Some babies love to just slide around in the mess, some like to use their toes, some love to use tools to make marks.

It doesn’t all have to be wet and messy though! Messy Play can also be dry and a perfect way to explore early writing opportunities.  Using trays, boards, pens and pencils to encourage straight lines, curves, circles and zigzags which help letter formations.

Mark making is a huge part of your child’s learning journey and one of the outcomes of a prime area of learning – Physical Development – in Early Years Foundation Stage Guidance (birth to 60 months).  When your child starts to make scribbles, patterns and shapes, this is ‘mark making’. It is the first step towards writing! Your child explores, experiments and expresses themselves through the marks they make. They begin to assign meaning to their marks, which leads to creativity and exploration.

Messy Play Ideas

Exploring different textures, materials and grabbing various apparatus will help your child get ready for writing. Encouraging your child to use their hands, fingers, feet and toes to make marks will strengthen their core muscles and develop their gross and fine motor skills. These skills are vital for holding and controlling a pencil and letter and number formation.  All of this can be done during messy play in a fun, exciting and stimulating way! A favourite way to mark make with all children young and old is colouring! There are so many different tools to colour with – felt tips, crayons, pencil crayons, chalks. Having creative and imaginative detailed pictures to colour works their fine motor skills and imagination all at the same time.

Repetition is important in mark making and the more the mark is practised, the more recognisable the mark will become to the child. The mark making opportunities are appropriate for every type of learner. The way we learn best can be auditory, visual, or kinaesthetic.

Messy play develops and appeals to all of the senses. It is inclusive and accessible to all children, even those with disabilities or sensory issues. As it is child led and there is such a wide selection of wet and dry trays children can choose a ‘messy’ level they are comfortable with. It is all a personal choice and can be enjoyed in many ways. Why not try some messy play at home? Or if you’d rather leave the tidying up to someone else, check out a Little Learners class in your area >>> http://www.littlelearnersuk.com

Love Holly, Little Learners Southport and Little Learners Preston & Chorley