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Writing Through Play

Writing and Mark Making

Children love to explore and in the Nursery we encourage them to develop their writing and mark making skills in a variety of ways. We provide a variety of resources and sensory materials to practice drawing shapes, patterns, pictures and writing their name. These include


-gloop ( this is also a great science focused activity)       


- using a white board and pen (you can buy these from a variety of online stores

- large crayons/ colouring pencils and pens

- a paint brush and water on a sunny day. Challenge you child to write their name before the sun dries out.

- chalk outside


Try providing different things to write on - post it notes, coloured paper, colouring pages or books, cards, small and large notebooks, the floor and walls outside (with chalk or paintbrushes and water). This all makes mark making exciting.


It is also important to help develop children’s hand, arm, shoulder and core strength, as well as developing good hand – eye co-ordination, to ensure that children can hold and use a pencil effectively. Activities such as playdough, cutting, peg boards, jigsaws, threading, lego are all fantastic at helping children to develop these skills so please see these activities as important parts of your child’s learning.


We try and develop mark making and writing wherever possible through enhancing their play. Some suggested ways to include writing in play are listed below. It is also important that children see writing has meaning or may feel unsure of what you want them to do, so please do make it a joint effort and model e.g. writing a menu, or write what your child says and then allow them to add pictures or their own letters and writing (which will often look like a squiggle at this stage).


  • Having a teddy bears picnic? Write an invitation to other your teddies… a great way to practice name writing.
  • Playing shops? Write or draw a shopping list, write a receipt to give to the customers.
  • Opening a restaurant? Draw or cut out pictures from magazines to make a menu, write down the orders, write receipts or even make your own money to use when paying.
  • Building a castle? Make a plan or design and draw what the castle will look like.
  • Having fun in the kitchen? Write a recipe and then have a go at making it.
  • Potions? Draw and label the ingredients to make the spells.
  • Make, draw, write in a card to send to a friend, a family member or one of their teachers!
  • Playing schools? Ask the children to be the teacher and show you how to draw something or write a register (of teddies or toys) and tick off who is in class today


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