When children draw, they are usually close to the paper and therefore have more control of the marker or pencil. But what happens when you create a “long arm” and use it to distance yourself from the tip of your marker?

With this Play Invitation, children can explore concepts such as movement and control, creating exciting and awkward marks. Children can also develop bilateral coordination (movements requiring both sides of the body to work together simultaneously) and creativity.

Child holding a long stick with a marker attached to the bottom to draw while standing up

What Could Lead Us to This Play Invitation

  • Children have been curious about using their whole bodies and movement to create marks;
  • Children are excited about trying new tools and techniques to express themselves;
  • Children have been concerned about the right way to draw.

Materials Needed

  • A 3 to 4 feet pole or stick (90 – 120cm)
  • Markers or charcoal
  • Masking tape
  • Large sheet of paper

Setting up This Play Invitation

  1. Collect a couple of poles or long sticks. An old children’s broom handle works well.
  2. Tape a marker securely to the base of each pole or stick.
  3. Place a large sheet of paper on the floor or on the wall (where it is safe to draw freely!)

    Tips: If you use charcoal, there will be a moment when children will want to use their hands to feel its texture and marking qualities. Be prepared with aprons or old shirts.
    Children can hold the paper with their feet or you can use tape to secure the paper to the floor.

How to Create the Drawing

  1. Invite children to use the drawing stick freely and let the magic begin!
  2. Children can draw whatever they want freely.

FOR OLDER CHILDREN: What can a long marker do well? What other kinds of things could you attach markers or colored pencils to?

How to Nurture the Natural Unfolding of the Child’s Identity During This Play Invitation

  • Children have the right to find new and exciting ways to express themselves. There are countless ways to use materials and tools creatively. Educators must stay curious and not be afraid to propose new ways to look at materials. Some children may not be very interested in drawing while sitting at a table, but may be fascinated by using something simple like a long stick with a marker attached.

The Academic Learning Opportunities

  • LANGUAGE: Use language to engage in conversation with their peers.
  • PHYSICAL: Develop upper body strength, coordination, and balance.
  • ART: Explore a dynamic loose drawing technique that builds on the capacity to work more freely and not be attached to the idea of “perfection.”


Continue to explore drawing with less control and invite children to draw something while blindfolded.

Book Recommendation

An inspiring book that makes us believe in ourselves through the power of the “yet.”