Biggest Marker in the World

When I wrote about my “biggest marker in the world” (aka a Sharpie Magnum), someone in the comments suggested that we could like, tape a marker to a big stick or a big cardboard tube and actually make the biggest marker in the world.

So, we taped a marker to a 3 foot cardboard tube and made the biggest marker in the world. 😁

It took way more finagling to tape it inside the tube than I expected. Then we had fun giggling as we tried to control this absolutely gargantuan marker with our whole arms moving to write or draw anything at all.

Human bodies develop from the “inside -> out”. The core muscles become strong and steady first, then the shoulders, then elbows, then wrists, then fingers.

When adults try to push structured academics on children too young (like making 3 year olds trace letter worksheets), their joints and muscles haven’t had time to develop “inside -> out” yet before they’re being expected to leap to the end product. Drawing and writing well comes from being able to make small movements with the fingertips, which are the furthest “out” from the body and rely on all the other muscles and joints that are closer “in”.

So expecting good writing and drawing while having skipped to the end means the child will either fatigue and have pain, or else be incapable of “good” writing and drawing. It’s like trying to put a roof on a bare concrete foundation and then wondering why it didn’t make a good house.

Using a big huge giant marker meant that we couldn’t help but draw using huge movements of our whole arms and shoulders. This meant we were taking our ABC knowledge but returning to an earlier skill in the foundation of developing “inside -> out”. We moved back from fingertips, back from wrists, back from elbows and went all the way back to using our cores and shoulders.

I upped the ante even further with some of my oldest kids by having us stand on balance beams while we did it. This meant that our cores had to be SUPER engaged in order to keep us upright and balancing while we drew.

As always, when I say “we did things”, I mean that I modeled doing them during child-directed play, and it looked fun so the child joined me in my play, and the things they were playing I joined into mine. With one child, we pretended to use the “forest magic” to carve a password into the ground to unlock the temple. With another child, we pretended we were spear fishing into a river and used the big marker to draw fish. With yet a third child, we simply wrote our names and then moved on.

[image description: a picture of my feet on a balance beam on the ground. Underneath the balance beam is blue butcher paper rolled out onto the floor and written on it is the word “hi”. In my hand is a huge cardboard tube with a sharpie taped with duct tape to the end of it. I’m wearing rainbow tie-dye shoes and green striped overalls. Also on the floor is a crocodile puzzle piece that’s been traced with a marker. That’s unrelated to this big marker game but related to pretending the balance beam was a bridge over a dangerous river. End description.]