Process art is such an important part of any preschool program, and it is equally important for toddlers. Big scribbling is a really simple, but effective, process art activity for toddlers.
In my toddler preschool program we try to do a little process art everyday, but it isn’t always extravagant and fridge worthy. It is truly about the process. It is an opportunity for the children to explore a set of materials. In an activity like big scribbling, my job as the preschool teacher is more to sit back and observe, encourage and ask questions. I do not give directions or require the children to use the materials in a specific way, (as long as they are being safe and not damaging the materials). In this post I share how my 2-3’s preschool class explored the most basic set of materials: paper and markers.
- large sheets of paper, such as that from a roll of craft paper
- markers or crayons (non-toxic, please)
The Set Up
Tape the larger sheet of paper to the table. I found that some of my toddlers used their entire body to do their big scribbling, so having the paper taped to the table kept it from moving as they drew, and also kept the edges from folding up from leaning on the paper. Set out a set of colorful makers or crayons and invite your toddler to color or draw.
The Big Scribbling Activity
My toddlers didn’t hesitate to begin their drawing. Half of this class is still two years old, so we saw a lot of scribbling, which was really the point. Using big paper meant my toddler preschoolers had to use their entire body to cover the whole part of their paper, so their scribbling were big, eventually covering all of their space.
But this is not to say that the scribbling wasn’t focused. It most certainly was. The children still considered each color before selecting, and while their scribbling was big and fast, it was still deliberate. They were exploring the outcomes of their actions.
The toddlers tried drawing with more than one marker at once, and they used both hands. They makes dots and stippled into their drawings. They experiment with holding the markers in different ways. Some explored different pencil grasps, while others explored holding the markers closer to their top rather than close to the paper. All this experimenting helps the children process the various aspects of writing.
Some of the toddlers even tried to write their names. While most are still unaware of the letters that make up their names, when I went around to place an initial for the child’s name at the top of their paper, they made smaller marks alongside it. This toddler made some very clear marks in an attempt to write her name. “Look, I write Mila!” she exclaims.
Even Toddlers Benefit From a Writing Center
While a toddler preschool class may not produce lists of names or picture stories at the writing center, they will benefit from exposure to various writing materials. Having access to the materials at their choosing will encourage them to write and draw more.
I’m Sarah, an educator turned stay-at-home-mama of five! I’m the owner and creator of Stay At Home Educator, a website about intentional teaching and purposeful learning in the early childhood years. I’ve taught a range of levels, from preschool to college and a little bit of everything in between. Right now my focus is teaching my children and running a preschool from my home. Credentials include: Bachelors in Art, Masters in Curriculum and Instruction.