Can toddlers write?

by | Sep 21, 2021 | Child development, Developmental Play, Featured

Can toddlers write?

As soon as your little one becomes interested, you can give them some big paper and a marker to get them started.

Learning to make a mark on the page is actually an important part of early literacy, which begins in the first three years of life. Even those random scribbles on your shopping list and lines made with their finger in the yogurt that spills on their high chair tray count as brain work for learning to read later.

In the first three years, your baby will go from random scribbling to controlled scribbling, with lines and patterns. Around 2 1/2 years you’ll begin to notice they’re drawing pictures and imitating the lines they see in letters.

Then after age 3, they’ll begin to make letters that look familiar and begin to write their name.

And guess what, the more your child writes and draws, the better prepared they’ll be to hit the ground running when they start school.

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Drawing and writing supports fine motor development and cognitive development too.


Here’s some ways to encourage your toddler to write and draw…

  • Have the supplies ready to go when they’re ready. Chunky crayons, fat pencils and washable markers are great for little hands that don’t have a ton of control yet. Big paper is best! You can cut paper bags and open them up to create a big surface for drawing. You can even open up all those amazon boxes for a nice big surface. Tape it to the table so doesn’t move around.
  • No need to instruct them on what to do – just put the pens and paper out and watch what happens. You could sit with them and draw yourself to model how to do it.
  • Try not to ask questions about what they’re drawing. They won’t know! At this stage of the game, simply making a mark, repeating lines and patterns and allowing them to naturally make their own connections between the shapes they draw and the letters they see in the books you read will keep the pressure off. The minute you begin quizzing, they’ll likely lose interest.
  • Describe what you see. “You are using a blue pen to make a line.” “The colors are dark/light/bright.” “You’re working hard!” “This marker makes a wide line.” “When I look at your drawing, I feel happy.”
  • Display their drawings around the house. This shows your child that you’re proud of their efforts and also they’ll enjoy looking at it over and over. Everyone likes to feel appreciated for their hard work. 😍

Read more about the stages of writing here!


Meet Ann

I'm a child development specialist, parent coach and teacher trainer. I've cared for countless babies in child development programs, plus 3 kids, 3 grand babies and 5 foster babies! I LOVE babies and would come hold yours if I could. ❤️

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