...as soon as solid food and drink is introduced , babies can be seen to pour drinks onto surfaces and trail their fingers through it and dip fingers into food, not only to use their fingers as tools for feeding but also to trace pathways and investigate trails and tracks.Physical traces of babies and young children are often to be found, before the use of pens, pencils, crayon and paint, on surfaces, walls and fabrics and before the symbolic nature of mark making that we know as literacy is discovered. What is happening, however, is that very young children soon discover intentionality, that is the desire to make a mark, to ‘signify’ and to produce an effect. The pleasurable effect of such tactile events is also felt by adults, as they too trail fingers in sand, tracing patterns or shapes, or indeed doodle or idle with pens or pencils, letting minds wander
and allowing often non-representational shapes to develop. Making marks, ‘leaving my mark’, has often been described as a basic human desire and function, leaving signposts or signifiers of our existence.
DfES Research Report Number 444: David, T., Goouch, K., Powell, S. and Abbott, L. (2003) Birth to Three Matters: A Review of the Literature, Nottingham, Queen’sPrinter. Ps 96-112. / The Early Years Foundation Stage / Primary National Strategy