May 19, 2023

5 simple and fun mark-making activities

Sophie Allen
Sophie Allen
5 simple and fun mark-making activities

Mark-making activities are often sensory and involve physical experiences, so are perfect for your little one to develop their physical fine-motor skills in a fun and indirect way. 

This concept helps your little one to develop an understanding of the world, by observing how different things work and how they influence change. For example, moving their finger in the sand will create an effect. This is also known as ‘cause and effect’!

Moreover, creating marks is a fundamental precursor to early literacy and writing. As your child hones their fine motor skills, their manual dexterity also improves. Consequently, the manipulation and control of their fingers and hands become more stable as their muscles become stronger. This will ultimately help them in the future when they hold a pen to write or draw, or grasp a paintbrush to paint!

However, mark-making doesn't just have to be your hands, it could be any of these:

  • Sponge

  • Foil, cling film, greaseproof paper

  • Pipe cleaners

  • Toothbrushes

  • Cotton Wool

  • String 

  • Pens, Pencils, Crayons

  • Spatulas, Spoons, Forks, Whisks

  • Carrots, cucumber, potatoes

Here are 5 mark-making ideas for your little one to get stuck into: 

Sponge Painting 

In this activity, your little one can dip a sponge in paint and then uses it to create marks on paper. They can experiment with different colours, shapes, and patterns to create a unique piece of art. This activity will support their fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination, whilst also allowing them to explore their creativity and imagination by experimenting with different colours and shapes to create their own unique artwork.


Another idea is to use washable chalk to write on the ground. Different paper sizes, colours, and textures can enhance mark-making experiences, with larger paper providing ample space for active children to explore, collaborate, and spread out. Or, you can use regular pens, pencils and crayons too!

I can see a Rainbow! 

This is a super simple activity which involves drawing a colouring in a rainbow, placing it in a tray and pouring sand, sugar, or flour all over it. As your little one moves their finger in the tray, they will love the magic of the rainbow appearing below! 

Child drawing a rainbow

Child drawing a rainbow

Nature Book

Try to make the most of Nature! Get outside and go on an adventure to collect leaves, flowers, sticks, small rocks, fir cones, and seed pods. You can talk to your little one about the different textures (smooth, rough, hard, bumpy, soft) and smells (it could be a herb!). Collect these with your little one and stick them in a scrapbook to create their own nature book! Also, you could also use sticks as nature paintbrushes too - just use some tape to attach some grass or petals as the bristles!

Bark rubbing 

Mark-making can be inspired by nature through techniques such as leaf and bark rubbing. Take some paper and some wax crayons next time you venture out with your little one and explore the different patterns that trees have. You could also do this with some leaves too if it's a little tricky doing this on a vertical tree!


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