Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Train Up Tuesday: Chalk Talk

Honestly, I really wanted to use the phrase “Chalk It Up” in my title, but in searching the web for inspirational ideas...EVERY other blog uses that phrase ;-) This is the first in a series of fun activities to do with the kiddos out in the sun. Thanks to those who responded to my requests for ideas.

I adore chalk...though I don’t really like the feel of chalk (blecht!). Maybe there’s some nostalgia about it that creates it’s appeal to me...Bert from Mary Poppins as a "screever" (I think that would be a GREAT way to get paid) and Simon in the Land of Chalk Drawings:

Chalk is such a great, cheap tool for the amount of fun you can have with it. Plus, a sidewalk is the perfect poor man’s canvas....just a good washing and time in the sun...voila, good as new!

We have loads of most any color and many shapes. If I have no activities planned, it’s one of those things I can go to for instant fun and inspiration and open ended play with my boys. Here are a few (who am I kidding...SEVERAL) ideas for fun with chalk:

The Basics:

Draw something.
That’s all there is to it. Draw ANYTHING. If you have a sidewalk or driveway, you have an amazingly HUGE canvas. There is something novel about drawing on the sidewalk. Not only does it present a beautiful work of art, but for the little guys, it helps exercise those gross motor skills.

A snail drawing by my 4 year old

Trace your shadows and fill them in. Or trace them every hour or so standing in the same spot to learn about the earth’s rotation and how shadows change.

Some areas of the country are known for Sidewalk Chalk Art Festivals. I’d LOVE to find one of those. But, if you are like me, and don’t get to see too much performance art in your neck of the woods, why not have your own Festival. You could host it at your home in your driveway with your kids and their friends, or if you are fortunate enough to live in a neighborhood with lots of children, perhaps the whole area could be a sidewalk work of art! Be sure to take pics. And “google” “sidewalk chalk art” for some REALLY cool artwork (3D & trumploi images are can create a similar effect with 3D glasses, like the ones we received with a Crayola 3D Chalk package).

Leave a message. What a great way to welcome home “daddy” or a loved one! Plus, you can always take a photo of it to preserve the message or artwork for later (great way to make a “thank you” card in the future).


No doubt we’ve all played a round or two of hopscotch. But you should check out variations of hopscotch. Look up some different ideas online. I came across Monte Carlo & Italian variations in the book "The Daring Book for Girls" by Andrea J. Buchanan and Miriam Peskowitz.


There’s more than just hopscotch, though! Many classic sidewalk/playground games use chalk. I came across an idea for making leaping lily pads with numbers to encourage number sequencing. You could also use various shapes, symbols, letters, and numbers to teach math and spelling skills, for starters.

Leaping Lilypads!

Use chalk to make a classification system.

For more learning fun, check out "More Chalk Fun".

You could also trace shapes (we used sand tools) to make a puzzle.

Tracing shapes for a "puzzle"

Basically, any game you could play with pen/pencil and paper could be played on the sidewalk...on a GRANDER scale!

Pretend play. Make a track or road using chalk. You could make a whole village or town and include 3 dimensional items for tunnels.

Mix it up:

Don’t be afraid to let chalk get wet. It transforms pale chalk into magnificently brilliant colors! You can create your own wet chalk or chalk paint. (Thanks to reader Elizabeth for the link for making chalk paint:

OR a simple rain puddle works nicely for getting chalk wet.

So, what if your one of the many unfortunate ones who either has gravel in your driveway or no place to draw? Easy! Save some old boxes (or salvage some), open them up and an instant canvas! Actually, anyone can benefit from an old box for chalk drawings. Use it for a rainy day when you want to bring outdoor fun inside, too! ;-)

Clean Up! Even cleaning up after using chalk can be fun. Use large paint brushes, squirt bottles, buckets, sponges, a hosepipe. You can imagine that it may be even more fun for the kids than even the drawings!

Well, you can tell from my library of personal photos, that chalk ranks up there as one of my favorite things. I know there are many more ideas for chalk, so if you have some, please post them in the comments section!

Have fun,


Anonymous said...

I love the idea of making a welcome home message for Daddy! I think we'll do that this week!

HPS said...

You could so be a teacher, Ash. You're a fun mommy w/ great ideas. I'm so glad you share them w/ us.

Ashlie Miller said...

HPS...thanks :) I'm planning to homeschool, so I'm always looking for ideas!