Oh Mr.sun, sun, Mr.golden sun won’t you please shine down on me! Now that the weather is warmer, the children can spend more time outside. Due to Covid-19 outdoor experiences are more confined to a bubble, because of this I am going to focus on the different activities you can create with chalk. Why? Because you can use it right in your front yard, it’s super cheap, it can be done individually and will keep your child busy for hours!
Home-Made Spray Chalk
What you need: small spray bottles (the number depends on how many colours you want to make), cornstarch, water and food colouring. You can find all these supplies at the Dollar Store.
Note #1: The reason to use small spray bottles is because children have small hands, and these fit much better into them. This is not only a fantastic science and art activity but works great with developing fine motor skills.
- Fill your water bottle with 1/3 cup of cornstarch. A funnel makes this process a lot easier.
- Fill the rest of the bottle with water.
- Squirt in some drops of food colouring, seal and give the bottle a shake. There is no right or wrong answer for the number of drops – it just depends on your preference of how dark or light you want it.
Note #2: The cornstarch WILL settle at the bottom just give the bottle a good shake to mix.
Note#3: Keep in mind cornstarch will go moldy. When not in use try to keep out of direct sunlight, and store in a cooler area. I would recommend tossing after 2-3 days, or with the first sign of mold growth.
Other alternatives too bottles: Another route to go using the same recipe is to prepare the mixture and pour into muffin tins and allow the children to use paint brushes instead. Or try freezing them in ice cube trays with popsicles sticks as handles.
If you like the idea of regular chalk, but want to make things more interesting follow this recipe by Living Well Mom, and dump the mixture into whatever silicone mold you like.
Simple Learning Opportunities
Self Portraits: Supply the children with a box of chalk and ask them to draw a portrait of themselves. You can have the child start from scratch, or trace their shadow for them to get them started. You can ask them to include things that mean a lot to them or leave it very vague. This helps encourage imagination, builds self-esteem, and encourages sense-of-self. You can ask them “what do you want to be when you grow up?” and have them draw themselves that way. When your child is complete ask lots of questions, to encourage their literacy. Try to keep the questions open-ended, this will allow your child to express themselves, instead of simply answering “yes” or “no”. Why not even try asking them to draw a self portrait of you, their father/mother, or sibling…I’m sure those drawings will surprise you haha.
Hop Scotch: The younger the child the shorter your hop scotch should be. Keep an eye on where your child is developmentally, if their balance is spot on make the board longer and encourage hopping on one foot, and switching feet. If they are struggling with hopping on one foot, encourage more 2 foot hopping – either method will still focus on co-ordination. You can simply call out how many spaces for them to hop, throw a rock, roll a die, or allow the child the freedom to do whatever they like. Want to add some more literacy into your hop scotch? Put the letters of your child’s name and have them hop, saying each letter out loud, as they land.
Bean Bag/Sponge Toss: Start by drawing a small circle, then draw a second circle around that one, then continue until you have about five circles total. In each circle write down a point value. Essentially the idea is like darts, the closer you get into the centre the more points you get. Draw a line or circle to indicate where your child should stand to throw, grab some sponges and get tossing. You can also put the circles on the wall instead of the ground.
Chalk Mosaic: Use some painters tape and tape off some cool designs, have your child help you. Then colour in the spaces, peel off the tape and admire your beautiful creation. Try this on your driveway, your wall, your garage or even a fence.
Wet Chalk: Try dipping the chalk into water and then start colouring. This is a fantastic sensory and science experiment.
Side Walk “Simon”: If you’re not familiar with Simon, it is a hand held game with different colours in the shape of a circle. During the game the coloured buttons light up and you have to follow the pattern, and if you make a mistake the game is over. For this version create your Simon board (see image on the left), and have your children jump on the appropriate colours or patterns as you shout them out. This incorporates colour recognition, memory recognition and gross motor.
Check out these other great opportunities:
- Sensory Walks– I mentioned this in a previous post. They are fantastic and so open-ended
- 101 Genius Side Walk Chalk Ideas to Crush Summertime Boredom – This has so many literacy, gross motor, fine motor and creative development opportunities
If your child is fortunate to have multiple siblings (or you are joining them) here are some more interactive games for groups:
- Pac Man Tag – This looks like so much fun! Play with 2-8 people
- Four Square
- Dots and Boxes – I love that this has been adapted for outside, I used to play this with my dad and sister all the time as a child
- Twister – Such a great game for gross motor development, and if you play the game as a “team” rather then individually it would be fantastic for self-esteem, communication and co-operation development.
Check out my Pintrest Board Chalk Activities for more fun chalk experiences. Don’t Forget while you’re out there creating, write some inspirational messages to brighten up everyone’s day, and to show your support for your essential workers. Check out some inspiration below: