Supporting Early Markmaking at Home


To be able to draw and write successfully a child needs to develop the muscles in their shoulders, arms and hands. You can help at home by providing the following toys and opportunities:

  • Throwing beanbags, balls
  • Using ribbon sticks to make patterns in the air
  • Painting with water on walls outside
  • Hanging by the arms from branches and climbing frames
  • Pegging out the washing
  • Lacing cards, threading beads etc
  • Peg boards
  • Construction such as duplo and sticklebricks
  • Playdough
  • Jigsaws
  • Finger rhymes
  • Card games
  • Cutting with scissors
  • Doing up buttons
  • Using eating utensils such as spoons, knives and forks


Provide lots of different writing and drawing materials, preferably somewhere your child can access independently. Make it appealing and get involved yourself to further encourage your child. Many of these can also be used outside!

  • Pens, pencils, felt tips, crayons, chalks, paints
  • Variety of paper and cardboard in different colours including lined and plain
  • Notebooks and pads
  • Envelopes and cards


Children often imitate their parents so make sure that they see you writing and encourage them to join in. Use opportunities as they arise and encourage your child to write

  • Cards for family and friends
  • Letters and reminders
  • Their own shopping list
  • Birthday/Christmas present list
  • Signs and labels for their bedrooms and toy boxes


It is not important that your child is drawing or writing anything recognisable. Always encourage them to have a go by themselves and praise their efforts. A child will usually draw pictures before they understand that print has meaning. Once your child has good pencil control and can draw a variety of lines, circles, squares and triangles they will be ready for writing letters. Their early writing will usually be scribbles from left to right on a page. Later they will start to form individual symbols to represent their writing, often with letters from their own name.