Early years and childcare activities

View our latest childcare activity guide below, written by our early years experts.

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Mark making for babies

Providing lots of early mark making experiences will support babies to develop the muscles they need later for writing.

Learning aimsChild and practitioner painting 

  • To explore different textures and sensations, using their hands and bodies
  • To develop fine motor skills through the use of different materials.


  • Balls of appropriate sizes according to age
  • Large sheets of paper
  • Masking tape
  • Non toxic paint in different colours
  • Spare clothes for the babies
  • Camera for documenting evidence (optional). 

Activity​ outline

  • Secure the paper to your floor space with masking tape
  • Ensure the area is clean and any objects are moved out of the way
  • Choose the size of ball to match the baby's age and stage of development
  • Drop some paint across the paper or have paint in trays for toddlers to dip the balls in
  • Roll the balls across the paper to the babies to see what kind of mark, shape or pattern it makes
    • Rolling balls through paint provides an element of fun and unpredictability for children with their painting.

Special considerations

  • Be aware of any allergies your babies may have 
  • Ensure the paint is appropriate for use by babies and will not harm them if accidentally ingested.

Extension ideas

  • Keep a camera nearby so children can capture their images
  • Print off the photographs and make a book of the children’s various art creations to share with parents.

Useful links

​This activity and more can be found in the Brilliant Babies publication available here.

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