Making Marks – between 6 and 18 months old

The earliest form of childrens graphic expression is known as making marks. Long before the little child is able to hold a drawing tool (7–18-month old), he will produce marks such as scribbles, lines and spots. Children take pleasure in the very movement of the arm. Soon they realize that they are able to control it. They also like the marks they make – something material that the child creates by himself.

Young kids like to touch and play with all kinds of liquid and loose materials (water, flour, sugar, sand, snow, etc.). This engagement is often perceived negatively by their parents because of the dirt and stains produced and, therefore, restrained from.

Цветя, Ивана, 2 години

Flowers, Ivana, 2-years old

Before long, the child begins to recognize chance similarities between his drawings and the surrounding world. If you ask a child what he has drawn, at first he may tell you this is nothing. But once the child finds some resemblance between reality and his drawing, he already perceives it as an illustration of reality. Then he can answer what he has drawn. Or he can add more details in order to enhance the resemblance. A parallel process is going on too – the kid finds out the relationship between the pictures he makes and the verbal representation of the objects and phenomena. Look for interesting examples of how kids are naming their drawings in our gallery.

What can parents do during this period?

The most important thing is to allow the kid to express himself best, i.e. to provide him with various DIY materials: paper, thicker, if possible, in order not to get easily torn; pencils, felt-tip pens, solid thick pastels or easy-to-clean pens in several basic colors. And that’s all.

There is no point in teaching a child how to draw a particular object, since his motor skills have not fully developed yet. At this age, a child finds it most interesting to daub and leave marks on a sheet of paper.

Do not insist that the kid should make a drawing spread over the whole sheet before he has taken the next one. Remember that making a mark is what the child is looking for in this experience. You can make an experiment – buy the child a sketch book with a lot of sheets. He will immediately scribble away many of them, but the next day he will only make drawings on a couple of blank sheets and will then go back to the previous scribbles to make them look nicer.

Encourage the child to draw with fingers. This trains both his motor skills and creative abilities. You can try making stamps – stamp a hand or a foot on a piece of paper.


Sources: knetfeder, Монтессори.Дети, Gedankenwelt