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at our latest cluster meeting we decided to spend some money on boxes of equipement that can be shared by all settings


such as water play, science, small world etc


my box is about mark making this will include large paint brushes and chunky chalks

without looking through my books and notes I have drawn a complete blank on what else to include :o


any idea's?

ref books?


suitable for




pre school



I have £50 to spend




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Hi Kazze


We recently bought small A4 size white boards and dry wipe pens. The children enjoy being able to easily erase their mistakes and try again. We photcopy any writing we want to record.


We use trays of salt, flour, sand etc to make marks and then shake to clear the patterns. Also we spray shaving foam directly on to the table to make patterns and names in.


Our younger children (2 yrs 6 mths + ) like chunky felt pens as they make a strong mark with ease. The older children (up to 5) are always tempted by a new box of ordinary hb pencils- while they are still shiny and sharp!


We sometimes let the children use post it pads as we use these ourselves to make observations. They enjoy making their own observations about each other.


Clipboards can be improvised by using strong card or a board and a bulldog clip.


We play noughts and crosses, and encourage the children to record their score when playing skittles or scoring goals.


Different types of paper inspire many to draw or write, and things like blank number plates for bikes, or blank signs for the shop.


I could go on, but I get carried away.....................


Hope this gives some ideas!!



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How about play dough and marking implements, ink with rubber stampers, plastic hand, feet, number, letter etc stampers on sticks, (can't remember their full name). Glue and glitter, glue and sand (get the children to write/draw with the glue on paper then cover with sand). Twigs, leaves, feathers, shells and acorns, most natural world things will leave marks. Combs or the plastic tool they use to put tile adhesive on with. Using candles to make marks then painting over the top. We found some fab crayons that are a rainbow in each crayon, they love these along with marble finger paints, a bit expensive but well worth the money. Painting rubbers, they look like a 'normal' paint brush but instead of bristles it has a rubber nib on the end.


Hope this gives you a few more ideas that are safe but won't cost a lot.



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Hi Kazz,

I love looking through the educational catalogues for art/mark making equipment, and I always blow most of the budget of that kind of thing! Good ones to look at are Step by Step (www.sbs-educational.co.uk) and GLS (tel: 020 8805 8333)

If you have a scrap store near you, it's well worth a visit; they can have great stuff for mark-making, printing, etc and very often you get precious card, postcards, and greetings cards for the children to write in and send to their friends. :)

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I have found the best catalogue for any resources, whether it is paint, crayons or toys, is Yorkshire Purchasing. They are £££'s cheaper than anywhere else. I recently ordered some chunky felt pens from them for about £6 compared to £12 in another catalogue. They will only deliver to a premises address, not a private home, but their web site is worth looking at or send for a catalogue.

The address is



41 Industrial Park




They usually deliver within a couple of weeks if it is a normal stock item.


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  • 2 weeks later...

Hey thanks for the replies


I forgot that I posted and forgot to track duhhhhh :(:o


Jaq did you get the A4 boards from anywhere in particular ? brill idea I had thought of black boards - I like the idea of photo copying thier mark making


I had already decided to get trays to use with sand, flour, gloop etc

and clip boards!

and large brushes!- may have to pinch (I will ask nicely :( ) some glue spreaders while I am in B&Q LOL


Jackie - where did you get the rainbow crayons from?


ink and stampers would be different and I do like the idea of using natural objects


I would like to have some unusual or difficult to find resources in there


thanx again


any more?? xD


Kazz :D

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I will try and track the rainbow crayons down for you when i get to work....in a few hours looking at the time.


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  • 2 weeks later...

We used charcoal for mark making and white chalk on black paper. The children were asked just to make marks, no pictures. We let them do it on postcard size and stuck them next to each other with no spaces. It really looks effective when displayed.



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most of these activities can be produced for pence and shouldnt need too much room in a box


each activity is in affect - "a prop and a pad"


children love to copy adults making lists!!!

-a toy phone and a note book (take a message)

-cuddly toy and a diary or drawing pad for the younger children

-pictures of shops or the high street and a pad to make grocery lists

-a few plates and menus and a pad to take the orders

-old junk mail envelopes, forms and pens can make an instant office

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  • 2 weeks later...

No money required! - Gather together old diaries; forms from the Post Office; Argos/Index store order forms; or other catalogue order forms; make clipboards using stiff card and a strong paperclip - attach paper and let the children make shopping lists; take orders for snacks; etc.


Small outlay - buy some carbon paper and make "magic marks" - put carbon between two pieces of paper and use either a white crayon to make marks on top sheet then let the children see the "magic mark" on the bottom sheet. Or use pencils; crayons and save bottom copy as "evidence".


The children in our pre-school love drawing/'writing'/mark making in mini books, usually related to the topic we are covering - we make our own books by 1) stapling some sheets of paper together; 2) cut strips of paper and make a concertina book; 3) for Easter we made 'Rabbit Face" books - cut outlines of rabbit with round face and big ears stapled a few together (coloured paper on front) and children 'copied' the words hop, skip, jump. Can make different shapes for specific topics.


If you have access to an outdoor play area we let the children draw with chalk on the hard surfaces.


Mark making can also be incorporated in other activities suggestions have already included some we use such as foam, sand, etc. We also use cornflour in trays mixed with water it's a great medium for making 'marks'; also use lolly sticks and cotton buds in playdough; and we have had some great marks made using cotton buds in paint.

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An idea that our children love is using paintbrushes (from the local pound shop) and dipping them in a bucket of water and 'painting' on the playground!

I agree Steve - cornflour is definately the best!

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