If you’ve never contemplated giving the kids a packet of “sidewalk chalk” and letting them run free – you’ve been missing out
It keeps them amused for ages. They love to draw on the ground at the park, on the steps in the backyard and all over the driveway. The best part is that it all washes away the next time it rains.
Once the initial amusement has rubbed off, you can step things up a notch with hopscotch, maths games and art.
Here are some fantastic chalk games to play with the kids – thanks mostly to us scouring the internet.
Silly fun games
This one is so easy and so obvious. Who doesn’t love hopscotch? Simply draw the squares and challenge the kids to hop with one foot into each square. Double squares can use two feet. You can also add in a challenge by picking a rock and throwing it onto the squares. Whatever square the rock is on is “poison” – you can’t step on it.
Get the kids to stand and find their shadow. Then draw faces on the shadows – they can choose to be happy or sad or angry.
3. Silly shadow poses
Get the kids to put their bodies in funny positions and trace around their shadows. Then fill in the shadow with colours.
4. Angel wings
Draw some angel wings on the ground and get the kids to lie down in between then. Grab your phone and take a snap. They’ll love getting creative and seeing what else they can draw. Try tails, cat ears, horns.. the list is as long as their imagination.
5. Sight word tracing
Write a word on the ground with one colour chalk and ask your child to trace over it. It’s great for getting little hands working and little brains thinking.
6. Collectable letters
Pick a letter and draw it in a circle. Repeat with as many letters as you like. Then sent the kids out into the park, or backyard to collect as many things starting with that letter as they can find.
7. Sight word twister
This one requires a little more planning. Write down all the sight words you can think of on squares on the ground.
Write the same words on slips of paper and put them in a hat. In another hat place slips of paper with “right leg”, “left leg”, “right hand”, “left hand”. Shuffle the words in the hats and then draw one slip of paper from each. The kids then have to put the right arm or leg onto the right word. Keep going until they get so twisted that one falls over. Of course, if you’re in the park, you could just call out different combinations without the slips of paper.
8. Sight word rock toss (or water bombing)
Write as many sight words (or letters for little ones) on the footpath as you can think of. Now grab a couple of rocks. Pick a word and take turns tossing rocks at it. The first person to land the rock on the word wins. Alternatively, in summer, you can stand behind a line and try to blast the word with water bombs.
9. Domino matchups
Draw a bunch of dominos with dots on the ground. Then draw a heap of letters. The kids have to draw lines to connect the dots to the correct number.
10. Maths challenge
Write some math equations on the ground in various locations. Make sure they are age appropriate. Give the kids a sheet of paper and get them to write down the answers to each of the hidden problems. The first one to solve them all correctly wins. Just make sure that you have them all written down so that you remember them too.
11. Number lines
Draw a huge line on the ground with numbers 0-100 spaced at regular intervals. Get the kids to pick a number to start at. Then ask them to jump along the line by adding or subtracting the numbers you choose.
12. Colour matching
Draw some big circles on the ground in each different chalk colour. Then ask the kids to run around the park or the street and find items that match the colour. Sort them into each coloured circle. You can add a level of complexity by putting numbers in the circles – find four red items or 10 blue ones.
Create a life-size maze with the chalk and ask the kids to see if they can drive toy trucks or cars through to the end without getting blocked.
Get the kids to lie down on the footpath and trace around their body. Now you can get them to label their body parts head, leg, foot etc. Advanced kids might like to start drawing what’s inside their body too – heart, lungs, stomach.
15. Recreate masterpieces
Ask the kids to grab a photo from a magazine or on your phone that they love. Then give them the chalk and see if they can recreate it on the ground.
16. Mondrian magic
Grab some masking tape and chalk and head outdoors. Tape up a square and then construct some random lines through the middle. Get the kids to colour each different section with a different colour. Then remove the lines and check out your masterpiece. See what other artworks you can create with tape and chalk.