Writing & Drawing (birth - 15 months)

Written letters and words don’t mean much to babies who are still learning to say sounds and words. But babies do have stories to tell, and one day they will tell them with spoken and written words and with pictures.

One of the first ways that babies tell stories is through imitation. They copy actions they see the important people in their lives doing. When they see teachers and family members waving and clapping––or writing, drawing, typing, swiping, and texting—they want to do it, too.

Most babies cannot grab or scribble with a crayon before their first birthday. But long before then, young babies begin to discover and become fascinated by their hands. As they begin to become more aware of and use their hands, they build the strength, dexterity, and hand-eye coordination that they will need for writing later on. Young babies use their hands to build these skills in lots of different ways, such as:

  • Fingering one hand with the other
  • Bringing a hand to their mouth
  • Watching their hands wave
  • Opening and closing their fists
  • Reaching for a toy
  • Batting at a mobile
  • Grasping and releasing an object
  • Playing clapping games
  • Reaching across their bodies to take a toy
  • Picking up small bits of food
  • Squeezing squeakers and sponges

Older babies will begin to “scribble” and make marks with their hands and fingers.  Offer them opportunities to scribble on foggy windows, in wet sand, or in food spills on their trays. And when a baby begins to show interest in writing tools, you can guide his hands and help him make his mark.

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