What to do about smooshing?

This child has figured out how to print a square. However, once she discovers that her cardboard can slide, she’s painting instead of printing.


Rebecca, age 4

The temptation to slide, swirl, and paint with the straight line tools (especially the small line tool) is a strong one! These are all natural, developmentally appropriate, fun and exciting ways to explore.

However, it is the act of printing with a line that opens up the world of construction. It is the more controlled process and skill of line printing which lends itself to understanding and creating structures in the natural and built environment.

Ways to Deal with Smooshing

  • Allow enough time to explore.
  • State clearly why it is important to practicing the skill of line printing.
  • Set up a table for smooshing and another one for printing.

With younger children, let smooshing run its course and introduce printing later in the year. Keep extra sheets of paper handy to offer when you see papers becoming very full.