Mark making........the fun way!
In Saplings, we try to encourage our children to develop their muscle movements to prepare them for when they go to school and start writing. During play, we aim for them to acquire a range of movements and patterns needed for writing. This doesn’t mean we sit down and do lots of writing, this means we have a great time doing lots of fun activities.
We give our children lots of opportunities during the day to practice making large movements, for example making shapes using ribbons, throwing and catching balls, climbing and painting fences with large brushes and water.
An activity that the children particularly seem to enjoy is playing parachute games in the garden. The first instinct that the children have when they first grasp the edge, is to shake it to make waves, this always seems to induce giggles and screaming laughter. By listening to instructions, we then start to move the parachute in different ways, moving it fast, slow, up and down. Singing along to some of our favourite rhymes, trying to shake it to a rhythm is another way that we keep the parachute moving. The children will often want to go under the parachute, so we play a game where two children need to swap places, this can be really funny as we never know where a child is going to pop up!
All of these larger muscle activities help with control and balance ready to take on the finer muscle movements required for writing.
By taking part in smaller activities, the children then begin to develop their muscles in their hands and fingers. Activities including making pictures or arrangements with sequins or buttons, cutting using scissors, playing with clothes pegs or building using the variety of small construction materials that we have are all good examples of activities that help with this.
Mark making in materials such as sand, cornflour, shaving foam or making marks using water help develop an interest in pattern and being able to start to see the outcome of the movements they are making. This also helps their confidence as the marks that they make are not permanent and changes are easily made without pressure to produce a final outcome.