I have a toddler (22 months old) who loves to draw. He likes to draw on his legs, he likes to draw on the walls. He will draw wherever he can. I don't want to stop him from drawing, I want to support him! He has an innate need to draw, to scribble, to make marks.
We know that a scribble is more than a scribble. It's emotion, expression, creativity, it's communication. The more the toddler can express themselves and be heard, the better!! I want more scribbling, more expression. It's also concentration, focus, autonomy.
I've set up a small 'writing' station on a child-size table right next to my work space. It's a place my toddler can come whenever he wants to. It has crayons, pencil/crayons and lots of paper in different sizes. It's not too much, it's not too little.
This is not an art table, there is no focus on literacy, letters, colouring-in or alphabets. It's child-led and child-centered.
What we include:
- Spiral sketch pads with hard-covers - A5 and A3. I like the spiral binding as it sits flat, I prefer the sketch pads as we use less paper and use the back of the paper and it's been easier for my toddler to manage, the small size pad he can take around the house (or out of the house) and the large size is great for bigger drawing and all of arm movements. I like the hard-cover so they can easily be used on the floor, outside or in the child's lap.
- Crayons and Pencil Crayons - I love the crayon rocks but feel they are too small for this age group, I observe my toddler and see which crayons he likes the best. We love oil pastels and paint sticks and have these in our art shelves (down stairs).
- Blank Index Card in a box - I love these for the child to make little notes, lists or cards.
- Sticky Notes - my toddler currently loves drawing on sticky notes so we've included some of these too.
- Small clipboard and paper - this is fantastic for role play or writing while on-the-go.
What we don't include:
- Alphabets, letters
- Tracing work
- Colouring-in sheets
- Lined sheets
- Other art materials like paint, stamps.
While I feel other forms of mark-making are valid such as painting, using a chalk board, I want to keep this area really simple, especially considering the age group. Our art shelves are downstairs and we take a lot of our art outside like painting. Our toddler 'writing' station is upstairs and it is a much calmer and quieter, reflective space. It means that our toddler can draw first thing in the morning (after the potty) or last thing at night, as he often does.
- Yes to this!! What color was your day? at The Write Start.
- A Montessori Writing Station at How we Montessori (for a child at 5 years).
- Development of Infant and Toddler Mark Marking and Scribbling at Center for Early Literacy Learning.
- Scribbling and mark making: Promoting infants' and toddlers' emergent drawing behavior at Center for Early Literacy Learning.