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Making marks

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Print and text

Duration/age

Duration: 
Suitable for children: 
Location: 
Skills this activity improves: 
Young girl writing on the road with chalk

Drawing and writing doesn’t just happen inside. Outside can be a great place to draw and write too.

Give your child some chalk to draw with when they are outside. They could draw on cement, walls or fences. When your child is drawing or writing outside they are able to make very big pictures or letters.

Can you draw a big picture of yourself? Is it bigger than you?

How big can you write your name?

Encourage your child to experiment with mixing the chalk colours together.

What happens when you mix the pink chalk and the blue chalk together? What would you call that colour?

Your child could also use water to make their mark. Give them a brush and a small container with a little water in it. Encourage your child to draw or write with the water. Watch what happens to the water as it evaporates.

Where did your drawing go? Will it come back?

Materials you will need

  • Containers
  • Water
  • Brushes
  • Chalk

Why does this matter?

When children have plenty of opportunities to draw and write they are practising the skills they need to become skilled at writing, like motor skills and coordination. Children progress from ‘scribble’ to recognisable pictures as they develop and grow. 

They will also be learning that words and pictures have meaning and that the meaning is constant. When your child writes a word, like their name, and you can read it they will learn that those letters together will always make that word. 

When they draw a picture and they can describe it to you they are reading the picture - this is good practice for reading words. 

What does this lead to?

Having good skills with writing makes it an easier task for children and adults, both physically and intellectually. 

Being able to read pictures helps children to become critical thinkers. One example of this is being able to decode messages in advertising.

Language to use

  • Draw, write
  • Outside, inside
  • Wall, driveway, fence
  • Cement, concrete
  • Chalk, water, brush
  • Evaporate, disappear
  • Mix, blend
  • Red, pink, blue, green
  • Small, big, bigger, enormous, gigantic

Questions to use

  • How long a line can you draw?
  • How many different colours can you use in your drawing?
  • Why do you think your water drawing has disappeared?
  • What happens if you draw with water in the shade?

Useful tips

  1. Chalk washes off easily with water.
  2. You might also like to take a look at the activities Me and my shadow and A game of hopscotch.
  3. Remember to talk to your child in your home language.

More ideas

Try mixing chalk and water together to see what happens.

Variation by age

Three to five year olds

  • Your child could make a hopscotch course. You can play together or with other children.
  • Your child could draw a track for their cars to drive along.

Questions to ask

  • Can you throw the rock onto number one?
  • What number comes next?
  • Can you hop on the hopscotch course?
  • Is that track wide enough for your trucks?

Language to use

  • One, two. three. four
  • Throw, hop, balance, wobble
  • Track, truck, car
  • Drive, travel, corner, edge