If you are interested in how mark making benefits children, this booklet aims to illustrate how this sort of activity can help children to fulfill their potential, later on. One thing which struck me was the following:

 “In order to raise the status of early mark making, practitioners need to observe children, follow their interests and support the extension of their thinking.” Mark Making Matters, 2011.

This meant taking an interest which Little had already communicated, in his case; “trucks-and-cars”, and coming up with some new ways to develop his thinking here.

I raided the recycling, got out the paints and used his interest to guide us in mark making. This doesn’t have to be vehicles- any washable toys can be used: dinosaurs, animals, dolls….

I feel that I need to confess here; extremely messy play is NOT my preferred type of activity. Some people love it; I don’t. My top tips for coping if you are not generally a big fan but would like to give something like this a go are:

-Have a bath already run for afterwards.

-Do the activity with the child(ren) wearing only a nappy or pants.

-Cover the floor in cardboard, a sheet or an old shower curtain, or do it outside if you can!


Having said all that, we did enjoy it and have a good time; driving the cars at different speeds across the cardboard, looking at the tyres and at the marks they made, dipping his finger in the paint and mark making that way, too. This was all before Little became preoccupied with painting his knees, his arms, his head… Which I suppose is a sensory learning experience in itself!

Cost of activity:

Paint: £2-£3 from Wilko, Cardboard: free-recycling, Cars: already owned- some from charity shops.


What toys would your child use to do some messy mark making?