Children love to make marks and draw pictures for their family and friends, I’m sure you have lots of painting and pictures from Little Explorers on your fridge! All our children love to have the chance to create, right from our littlest ones in the Acorn room. It’s wonderful to explore their creativity with them.

  • Here are some things to know about drawing and painting and how it helps your child

It supports emotional development. It allows children to process their ideas and express feelings. It is also a great way to help them feel empowered.

It makes them feel positive about early writing.  Children who enjoy mark making develop an understanding that marks can be used as symbols to represent ideas. It’s a great start to writing.

It reflects interest and knowledge. Children choose to draw and paint things that are important to them. This is why they often paint and draw family members.

It builds and maintains confidence. The focus for adults in children’s earliest years should be to build confidence and enjoyment, so when they become self-critical they don’t give up.


  • Here are some ideas to encourage your child to draw and mark make.

Joining in and sitting with your child can boost a child’s interest. They will often copy what you do and how you use the materials in the same way as you do. It helps them to learn how to hold pencils and pens.

Try not to ask too many questions. Sometimes they don’t know what they are drawing, ask them if they like painting and see if they make any other comments.

Create a relaxed environment.  Children make more progress if they are not under pressure. It’s fine if they lose interest halfway through.

Early drawing is about exploration. It is normal for a child not to draw eyes or mouths on people. Also to give mummy green hair instead of brown. At this stage it is just important that they explore colours and textures.

Have plenty of blank paper. Encourage your little one to create their own drawings. Lots of colouring in can reduce their confidence in producing their own artwork.

  • Ideas for you to do together

Take a pen for a walk – pick out lots of different pens and crayons. Sit together and tell them you are taking a pen for a walk. Start drawing a wiggly line and see if your child wants to join in.

Paint with rags, sponges and brushes – Put out a large sheet of paper. Pour large splodges of paint on to a tray and put out various painting materials and see what marks you can make together. This could be done outside when the weather is nice!

Mess-free painting – If you don’t fancy the mess here are some mess free ideas. Ttry some bath time painting, put water in a plastic bowl and add a few drops of food colouring. Your child can make marks on the side of the bath with brushes. It can then be easily washed away with detergent. Using water  and paint brushes outside on the patio, fences and walls anywhere you can make a mark with the water. The water dries and its all gone!

Shopping list writing – have a clipboard and a pen when going shopping asking your child to write down what you need before they help you find it. They can tick them off too. Also helps keep them entertained during a shop!