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‘Our outstanding nursery school offers free 15 hour places 'for all 3 and 4 year olds' and 30 hour places for working parents’. Please contact the Nursery School 0151 233 4594 or for 2 year olds the Childcare Centre 0151 256 5683
Ellergreen Nursery School & Chilcare Centre

Broadening Horizons. Brightening Futures

Mark Making

Mark making is an important part of the development of early writing skills. Marks can be made in a variety of different media with a variety of different tools.




  • Chalk, felt pens, crayons, bingo dabbers, paint
  •  Using tools (paintbrush/ spoon etc.), hands, fingers, feet to make marks in;

          - flour
          - rice
          - hot chocolate powder/ cocoa powder
          - sand
          - shaving foam
          - Gloop ( a mixture of cornstarch and water)
          - playdough
          - flavoured mousse/ custard
          - jelly

  •  water and a paintbrush outside.


Learning to write


Help your child learn to write by encouraging 'mark making' with scribbles and patterns

This activity helps: Communicating Music and Art Reading & writing Pre-school School

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. 


Top tips for encouraging mark-making

  • 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. Chalk on the drive or path also works really well. 
  • 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! Don't forget to upload your child's work onto Tapestry!


Developing writing skills


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 lots of opportunities to practise making big movements (gross motor skills), for example by climbing, crawling, dancing, throwing and catching balls or 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, grasp and manipulate building bricks and hold pencils or crayons for mark making.

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. You could include them in writing the shopping list, for example.

In the beginning, mark making is more about motivation than ability and we want to show children that writing is fun!