“Through their play, children explore imaginary and abstract worlds making meaning through story making, mark making and drawing. As their ideas develop they often create increasingly elaborate versions of their understanding of the world around them”
Our children in the Burrow have been exploring lots of different ways of mark making. Using pens, paints, painting with cotton buds, crayons, white board pens and shaving foam on a variety of bases, we’ve used paper, paper plates, wall paper, the white board and the window. Giving children the opportunities to mark make also gives them the opportunities to freely communicate with peers which builds up their everyday language and using physical skills – for example, beginning to use a tripod grip.
Whilst using the pens on the whiteboard D.G drew his mark and told me “It’s a telephone”, I replied to D.G asking “ooo, are you going to ring somebody?” D.G replied “Yeah, it will be my daddy at work”. D.G quickly then rubbed his mark off and began drawing again. I asked him “What are you drawing?” D.G replied “A clown and that is his hat up there” pointing to the top of his drawing with the pen.
The EYFS says “within the context of an active play based learning environment, children will have many different ways of representing their thoughts and feelings in early years. Some will choose music, dance or song, others will prefer to tell stories through role-play, drama or using small world resources, but most will at some point be naturally drawn to represent their ideas graphically. When children realise that marks can be used symbolically to carry meaning, in much the same way as the spoken word, they begin to use marks as tools to make their thinking visible. These marks will support the developing concepts of mathematics and language in relation to their play.”
Mark making activities encourage children to use their physical skills, one activity which encourages fine motor skills and which all the children joined in with, was painting with cotton buds. We had around 6 pots with different colour paint in along with two cotton buds to each pot. Some children used a whole hand grip to hold on to the cotton buds and some used a confident tripod grip. There was a wide range of marks being made, from strokes side to side, round and round and lots of dots. Because all the pots had different colours in, lots of paint on the paper began to change colour and the children experienced, for example, red and yellow created orange! (We have displayed our cotton bud painting in the Burrow)
Continuing with changes in colour, this week we have been window painting with shaving foam! (And of course a reason to get very very messy with shaving foam!). I squirted some shaving foam on a table outside of the Burrow window, I placed my hand in the shaving foam and put a massive Nic hand print on the window! Before long our children were joining in using their whole hands and their individual fingers. Many children preferred to use their whole hand full of shaving foam and smear it across the window then use their individual fingers on top of what they just made to leave a smaller mark. This was another activity where we could easily see changes in colour, so I firstly added some blue paint and later on added some yellow. One child in particular gathered up some unmixed shaving foam in his hands and he spent his time independently mixing the white shaving foam, blue and yellow paint together to see he created green shaving foam!
Sometimes marks are made for the pure physical enjoyment of the activity - for example the shaving foam activity, the feel of smearing the foam over the window. The physical activity is an opportunity for them to experiment and explore their senses whilst building up their confidence.
Another activity has been mark making on paper plates. We have used a range of different mark making tools to decorate our plates. We used paint with baby lotion - which encouraged children to talk about their senses - of how the paint ‘smelt’ or how it ‘felt’. One child was painting her plate with black paint and blue paint, the colour mixed together and it became a grey colour. I said to R.W “It’s now grey like a…” I paused for a moment to try and think of something that was grey but before I could answer R.W said “like an elephant!”
We’ve had lots of brilliant language and lots of new confident mark making skills from our children in the burrow, with lots more to come!
(Please note – the time and the date on the photos is wrong)
Thanks for reading