It's an exciting moment when your child begins to experiment with different-shaped scribbles and patterns. This is known as 'mark making'. It is the start of a journey towards being able to write and is a real developmental milestone.
By providing your child with a variety of mark-making opportunities you can help them develop imaginatively, creatively and physically.
Mark making is important for many reasons. It is a visible way for children to tell stories and express feelings, record what they have to say, solve problems and discover solutions - and sometimes it is just an outlet for pure physical enjoyment.
How CBeebies can help
You're spoilt for choice with fun, mark-making activities on CBeebies!
Start off by visiting Doodle Do, where you can play the Paint Pot Pick-up game and make and decorate your own Doodle Do using a variety of patterns and colours. You can also play a fun tracing game - help develop your child's fine motor skills by getting them to use the mouse to trace over pictures on the screen. Those zigzag crocodile teeth are tricky!
If you want to get creative, check out the Mister Maker pages? His Magic Paintbox game is a brilliant way to experiment with different mark-making materials. Where else could you have the chance to draw with rice, buttons, glitter, grass or even baked beans?!
How to make a magic moment
Take your mark making outside and have fun getting messy!
Get a big roll of old wallpaper, roll it out on the ground and secure the corners with something heavy. Experiment with different ways to make marks on the paper.
Why not try hand and foot prints, rolling toy cars through paint then taking them for a drive across the paper or making prints using natural objects such as fir cones or leaves?
Don't forget to bring out some wipes to help clean yourselves up afterwards... and a camera to record your creation!
Children need to develop their motor skills (actions that involve the movements of muscles) in order to be able to mark make effectively.
Give your child opportunities to practise making big movements (gross motor skills) - e.g. climbing, crawling, dancing, throwing and catching balls, and carrying objects.
These activities will help develop the muscle control needed to move on to fine motor movements, such as being able to squeeze play dough into different shapes, use tweezers to pick up small objects, grasp and manipulate building bricks, or play tiddlywinks.
Aim to be a good role model for your child. Children need to see adults writing so that they can pick up on how writers behave and understand that writing is a valuable activity. In the beginning, mark making is more about motivation than ability and we want to show children that writing is fun!