Prep: 5 Minutes / Activity Time: 5 Minutes

This activity will give your child practice writing on a vertical surface.  Many toddlers begin to explore with a pencil or crayon between 18 and 24 months. If your toddler shows an interest, you can provide crayons, a suitable writing surface and a safe place to scribble. At this age, early markings are experimental and sometimes accidental. Toddlers explore to see what will happen when they move the crayon in certain ways, like a cause-and-effect exercise. This early scribbling is important. It prepares children for later writing. After initial exploration and early scribbles, your toddler will soon be able to be more deliberate in his writing markings.

  • large piece of blank, white paper or white poster
  • crayons or pencils
  • tape
  • old shower curtain or tablecloth (optional)


Step 1: Attach a large piece of blank, white paper or white poster to a sliding glass door other washable vertical surface, or hang an old shower curtain or plastic table cloth to protect the wall. Make sure the drawing paper is positioned at an appropriate height for your toddler’s reach. You might also consider purchasing blank chart paper from an office supply store for this activity.


Step 1: Let your child experiment. Redirect him back to the paper if he begins to walk away with the writing tool. Watch him delight in exploration!

Step 2: Sit nearby to observe and enjoy the process. Express your appreciation of his creativity and independence by talking to him during his attempts at writing. Provide comments while he is drawing. For example: “Look at all those lines you are drawing!” or, after he is finished “See here, this is where you made curvy, red lines!” (Note: This activity will require close supervision. Unless you don’t mind having your walls decorated, stay nearby!)

Step 3: When your toddler tires of the writing, display his work to show him that his drawing and writing attempts are valuable and important!