The motivation to draw and write is powered by play

You may think that driving a toy jeep around the drive-way and  developing the skills to write or draw have no connection but my two-year-old grandson would demonstrate that there is a strong connection between the two…

The motivation to write is powered by play! By Teach Preschool

My daughter and I have been introducing crayons and other writing materials to my grandson for quite some time. Not in any kind of formal sit-down-and-do-it-this-way approach but through casual opportunities.  For example, while at a restaurant, we  are given kid menus and a pack of crayons. We will often sit and color and even invite my grandson to give it a try too. For the longest time, he preferred to roll the crayons off the table and quite honestly, he still prefers to roll the crayons off the table…

The motivation to write is powered by play! By Teach Preschool

But now that summer time is here, pretty much everyday is all about playing outside so our drawing has focused more on drawing with chalk on the driveway. I keep a bucket of chalk by the garage door at all times and while my grandson runs around and plays, my daughter often naturally models the drawing process by doodling on the driveway…

The motivation to write is powered by play! By Teach Preschool

By modeling the drawing process and inviting my grandson to join in, my daughter has been naturally and gradually introducing my grandson to the writing process. But in order for my grandson to want to draw or write, the motivation has to be there too. As for most young children, the best source of motivation is often times found through their play. Today, the motivation for my grandson was discovering that he could take a clipboard with paper on it outside and even put it in his jeep…

The motivation to write is powered by play! By Teach Preschool

I’m not sure what was going on inside that little mind of his but I watched (mostly through the lens of my camera) as my grandson would drive around a bit then stop and make a few marks on his paper and then drive off again…

The motivation to write is powered by play! By Teach Preschool

The motivation to write is powered by play! By Teach Preschool

This was the first time I had observed my grandson take a genuine interest in the idea of drawing on paper or drawing anywhere else for that matter…

The motivation to write is powered by play! By Teach Preschool

As my grandson continues to integrate mark-making into indoor and outdoor play experience, the development of his fine motor skills and his interest in the writing process will continue to be nurtured. And I have to tell you folks – watching a child develop new skills through play is super exciting stuff!…

The motivation to write is powered by play! By Teach Preschool

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By |2013-07-10T06:00:23+00:00July 10th, 2013|

About the Author:

Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. has been working and teaching in the field of early childhood education for over 30 years. Deborah currently owns and teaches in her own part-time, private preschool called The Children’s Studio. Deborah’s deep passion for teaching and working with young children is documented and then graciously shared with millions of readers around the world through her blog and other social networking communities. Deborah believes that young children learn best through play and exploration and embraces this belief in all that she does in her own classroom so that she can effectively and passionately share rewarding, real- life, tried-and-true practices with other teachers, parents, and leaders across the field of early childhood education.


  1. barbara smith July 10, 2013 at 7:22 am - Reply

    I love the way you introduce scribbling to make prewriting fun and the integration of what little boys love- cars- into the process….


  2. tahmina July 10, 2013 at 9:34 am - Reply

    like this activity..i appreciate u alot for all ur efforts..Me also belong to teaching profession and ur activities really help me alot..i wish to come to u and observe and participate in ur activities classes.

  3. Heidi Butkus July 10, 2013 at 10:05 am - Reply

    Your photos (and grandson!) are just lovely! I love the way you have described how important it is to use writing tools to play. The writing process just unfolds naturally. Bravo!
    Heidi Butkus

  4. Heidi Butkus July 10, 2013 at 10:09 am - Reply

    PS. He’s a very LUCKY little boy!
    This brings back memories of my children drawing with sidewalk chalk outside when they were very young. I remember when we first saw a scribble turn into a circle with a face and lines coming out of it, which l0oked like a sun to me! I asked one of my twins what it was. She told me it was a hamster. My husband (who was a graphic designer at the time) and I were so proud! Ah, the memories!

  5. Kusum July 10, 2013 at 10:46 am - Reply

    Thank you Deborah. I have been catching up on all the articles on the blog and there is so much information I can use as I prepare for September and the next school year, from painting watermelons to writing!

  6. Jackie Higgins July 10, 2013 at 8:25 pm - Reply

    wonderful examples of authentic writing! My boys love clip boards too!

  7. Kathy July 11, 2013 at 4:15 pm - Reply

    I don’t know what it is about clipboards but they are like MAGIC when it comes to motivating young children to mark on paper! Maybe it’s that it makes it more mobile (clearly a selling point for your grandson!). Very fun – thanks for sharing, Deborah!

  8. hellen wanjiru muchra July 16, 2013 at 1:46 am - Reply

    Hi.I am a student in Kenya.I thank you for the information on the motivation to draw and write which is empowered by play.The information has been quite helpful.I am soon going to be a pre school teacher.I will be going for my internship from September till November this year then i will start working from January next year.
    I have been doing some information collection from different websites in preparation for my teaching practice.
    Cant to start using the motivations for the children to acquire drawing and writing skills through play. Thank u!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. July 16, 2013 at 12:36 pm - Reply

      Hi Hellen from Kenya,
      So nice to meet you and thank you for your comment! I hope you find lots of useful resources here!!

      • hellen wanjiru muchara July 24, 2013 at 6:07 am

        Thank you for your reply. The information i receive from you is quite helpful.Am sharing the same information with friends in my class.If i have any questions to ask, how can i get in contact will you?
        An email address will be helpful.Thank you and may God bless you.

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