Creating marks is a way for children to assume their own place in the world, to establish their existence, and to see themselves as author.

Children will develop their perception of materiality, by exploring different mark-making materials and their different qualities, textures, shapes, and frictions. Later, this knowledge of the materials will help them make intentional choices to shape their ideas.

What Could Lead Us to This Play Invitation

  • Children have been curious about making marks with different tools;
  • Children are excited about large movement explorations;
  • Children have been exploring textures.

Materials Needed

  • Tempera paints
  • Kraft paper
  • Bath poufs with handles
  • Paper plates

Setting up This Play Invitation

  1. Lay the paper on a table, or over a cloth on the floor.
  2. Pour paint in trays or on paper plates. Provide one bath pouf per color.

How to Create the Painting

  1. invite children to dip the bath poufs in the paints and explore their marks on the paper. Poufs enable swishing of the paint!
Child using bath pouf while painting on large paper

Child using bath pouf while painting on large paper

OPTIONAL NEXT STEP: You can offer other opportunities for mark-making and explore different textures with swirling movements, using a kitchen scrub brush.

Child painting on paper with handheld scrub brush

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

  • When involved in large group work, the child has the right to choose where she wants to be. We don’t all collaborate well with everyone in a group. It is essential to recognize and respect children’s choices
  • Valuing the identity of each child does not mean that their work has to be done individually. In a collaborative proposal, it is essential for the educator to help each one recognize their contribution to the whole.

The Academic Learning Opportunities

  • MATH: Develop directionality and spatial awareness.
  • LANGUAGE: Build new vocabulary, using language to share ideas.
  • PHYSICAL: Develop hand-eye coordination.
  • ART: Work with different materials and perception of how shape influences marks.


  • Continue to explore other household items that can be used to make marks, like toothbrushes and brooms.

Book Recommendation

A fun read-aloud guessing game around paint and… creative thinking!