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Ideas for mark making at home

Play throwing and catching games together and other games that encourage hand movements.

Make words together using magnetic letters.

Make up a story together about one of their toys. You write for them, repeating the sentences as you write. When it is complete, they can draw pictures to go with it.

Let your child help you write cards, letters or shopping lists.

Compose an email together inviting a friend over to tea.

Babies love to play with spilt food and drinks, using their little palms and fingers to create patterns before the spill can be mopped up. They’re not just making a mess, they’re making marks.

Make sure your child sees you writing. Model mark making, and find real-life opportunities to write. For example, shopping lists for the supermarket run.

Child playing with play-dough

Do some strengthening activities, for example swinging from a climbing frame, grasping to climb and crawling through tunnels.

Do some cooking, for example stirring cake mixtures, rolling dough and mixing.

Let your child scribble. Mark making comes when they use thick crayons to make big circular and straight lines. This type of mark-making is often dismissed as scribble, but it is actually an important step in learning to write, because children are trying out new things to see what happens.

Learn some action rhymes, such as ‘Wind the Bobbin Up’ and finger rhymes to stretch and curl the fingers, moving them independently.

Encourage your child to help around the home with odd jobs that involve large motor movements, for example dusting and sweeping.

Take time to show your child how to manage buttons and zips, and to put on or take off clothes.