“Phases”… anyone who looks after toddlers knows about these; they seem to last anything from a few days to several months. Little’s latest “phase” has been to draw on the walls around our house. No attempt to encourage him back to paper on a flat surface has yet been successful.

But is this a phase unique to Little or part of a more universal stage in development?

I’ve noticed vertical activities organised in childcare settings: Our local Children’s Centre has a chalk board outside; the foundation unit at the school has various interactive displays for letters and phonics on the walls. A quick search online reveals a wealth of similar examples, as well as explanations by occupational therapists as to why vertical activities are important for muscle development and posture.

So, I have decided to go for it, but as I do not want felt tip all over the house, have had to be creative in how I set things up for Little to do his vertical thing, on a budget, for as long as this “phase” lasts!


Using a finger or paintbrush to navigate a vertical wall of blocks.


Tape paper to an inside wall and let them loose with the pencils!


Pavement chalk on an outside wall.


Tree rubbing


Attach a wipe-board to the fridge for easy-access fun!

What vertical activities have you used with toddlers?

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Vertical Mark making ideas