Let them make their mark!

When will my child write? Now they can read, they can surely start writing? Right?


Many people ask me for help and tips to help their child/children to write. They often worry about their child not being able to write even through they can read very well.

I remind them that as adults we can write without much thought, but for a child, the skill takes lots of practice, time and encouragement. So I say, forget the paper and pencil for now, and allow them to get messy with mark making, using anything you find around the house such as shaving foam, sand, or coloured chalk etc. This will not only be a fun way to learn to write, but it will give them the skills they need as they take their first steps towards writing.

Setting up a shaving foam tray is simple. Take an A4 sized tray (or larger), add shaving foam, spread it out with a spatula and you could then add glitter or sequins to make it more fun. Then allow them to make shapes, or copy letters or words from flashcards. If you don't have shaving foam try making marks in the sand pit, grate coloured chalk onto a tray or make a squidgy bag with paint or hand/hair gel.

Children's early 'scribbles' are their first steps towards writing and through these first drawings and marks they learn to communicate their thoughts and feelings in another way other than just through verbal communication.  DD3 loves doing activities that develop her imagination and allow her to express her thoughts and feelings through creativity.

Fine motor skills are also essential to work on with your child as this will help them go onto holding a pencil easily. Hand-eye coordination and muscle control are needed when holding pencil.

Here are some of our favourite ideas to strengthen the muscles needed to write:

*Tying a ribbon to a stick and using it to draw shapes in the air

* Using tweezers to move items from one place to another

* Potato printing with paints

* Sewing letters using wool and card

* Adding tops to milk bottles

* Scissor skills

When your child is ready to hold and use a pencil, first find out which hand feels the most natural when holding a pencil and start by making small controlled movements. Check out this book for more great ideas!
'Children are naturally drawn to making marks. Long before they pick up a pencil or a paintbrush, they will experiment with making marks using hands, fingers, feet etc. as well as various found objects that they come across in day-to-day life. For children to become really confident and secure mark makers we need to provide them with lots of different opportunities with a variety of exciting mark making resources in many different contexts. Alistair Bryce-Clegg has collected together a whole host of ideas for different mark making utensils, as well as exploring numerous substances and surfaces that children can mark make on. Some of the ideas will support children to create their own 'masterpieces' while others will encourage them to make with other children in a group. As with all Alistair's ideas, 'engaging children' comes top of his list as when children are engaged they make the biggest steps forward on the road to writing and have the most fun!'
50 Fantastic Ideas for Mark Making - Paperback - 9781472913241 - Alistair Bryce-Clegg
Happy Mark Making! :)

Art & Craft