Make Your Mark

  • bags (plastic, resealable)
  • crayons or paint brush with paint
  • dough
  • paper (large sheets)
  • tape
  • writing tools

Make Your Mark

© Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Department of Early Education and Care. All rights reserved.

Give babies lots of opportunities to explore different materials with their hands, feet, fingers, and toes. They will be exercising their pre-writing muscles and “making their marks.”

  • Make hands and feet tracks with a baby. Explore different materials such as wet sand, mud, snow, flour, soft dough, and finger paint.
  • Draw with a baby on a foggy window or a tray covered with flour, wet sand, or finger paint. Help him use his fingers as well as his whole hand. Talk about the different motions he uses and the different marks he makes.

Offer older babies who can grasp writing tools lots of chances to “write.”

  • Tape a large piece of paper to the floor or refrigerator. Hand a baby a fat crayon or full paintbrush. Guide his hand to help him make a mark. When he is ready, let him try it himself and praise his efforts.
  • Roll out some soft play dough for a baby. Show him how to make marks with tools like sticks, combs, spoons, or toy tools. Talk about his marks.

For babies who do not like the feel of things that are gooey, slippery, or slimy:

  • Introduce new materials slowly.
  • Have water and towels nearby to clean their hands or feet.

Place sand or dry pudding mix in a clear resealable bag. The baby can poke or squish the material or she can make marks with her fingers and hands through the bag.

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