Now that the weather has come a little brighter, with slightly less downpour and slightly lighter grey of clouds (I live in the UK) it’s great to get outside for some activities like these using chalk. My girls love playing out in the fresh air, and it has a couple of advantages for me too because the house doesn’t get messed up while they’re not in it, and the fresh air helps them sleep well!!!
This one is super simple, very minimal clean up, educational and most of all it is lots of fun!
All you need is to find yourself a nice flat surface outside, this can be a patio, tarmac path, driveway (blocked off from possible moving cars of course) even stepping stones. You will also need chalk. Any chalk will work fine, although you can buy special ‘sidewalk chalk’ which is larger than regular chalkboard chalk, it doesn’t break easily and it is square, so it doesn’t roll away.
These chalks come in a great range of colours.
Chalk is a great way to teach your little ones shapes and colour. In a variation of hopscotch, draw shapes on your path using different colours, and then show your toddler which shape is which. Then begins the game…
“Can you stand on the green triangle?” Yay, well done! “Now, can you find the red square?”
It will easily keep a toddler happy for a good 30 minutes or so. As they get to know the more basic shapes, try adding in parallelograms, rhombus and even spirals and zigzags. Your toddlers mind is like a sponge, they will absorb the knowledge on the shapes and colours, what a head start on geometry lessons in the future! You can also sneak some letters into the mix if they are craving for more input.
When your little one has had enough of jumping from shape to shape, let them loose with the chalk to colour in the shapes, and let their imagination run wild as they have such a huge canvas to colour on.
If you don’t have any outdoor space at your home to do this, then please check your local laws to see if it’s allowed in your area before you start decorating the pavements near your home. As even though it washes away with rain, some authorities still see it as illegal graffiti! Crazy folks, don’t they know how much fun it is? ?
You could sketch out the traditional hopscotch grid, or be inventive and draw your own version. Showing your toddler the numbers and helping them to remember them using nursery rhymes (think 1,2,3,4,5 once I caught a fish alive rather than humpty dumpty.) will be lots of fun and will help make more connections between the shape of the number and the sound.
Draw a large clock, as large as your space will allow on the ground, complete with numbers to help your toddler to understand numbers and introduce the concept of time. Start by walking them around the face of the clock, calling the numbers as you go. Eventually, you will be able to call out a time and they will run to the right number. As you can see, my 2 year old loved this one. We took it a bit further and drew hands on the clock, and talked about what happens at those times. 5 O’Clock is tea time and so on.
Sketch out a basic map of the word to show countries, ask your child to stand on the countries you call out, or to make it a bit tougher for older children, call out an animal name and your child can stand where the animal comes from.
Draw around your child led on the ground, a chalk outline, but only if you’re not too squeamish! They’ll love looking at the shape of their bodies, arms and legs from another angle. Great for practicing body parts too! (Honestly, if you can get over the idea of a chalk outline of your child’s body on the ground, then this is a great one. For slightly older toddlers you could even draw on a few internal organs to show their placement. Heart, Kidneys, Lungs etc. I tell you, it is never too early to get a head start on learning especially while your children find learning such fun!
Simon drew around our 2 year olds feet the other day, and today she saw it as we walked down the path, she couldn’t wait to point it out to me and tell me how great it was that “Daddy drew around my feet, those are my feet Mummy!” You could draw around them a few times, so that they could step from one to the next, in their own footprints.
Let them loose with the biggest canvas they can imagine and a box full of colours! Remember to take photo’s as it will wash away. Give them a small dish of water, and the chalks become watercolours.
I hope you and your children enjoy learning with chalks.
Please share with me below in the comments or on social which chalk activities your little one prefers. Use the hashtag #nurturedchalk so that I can find your photo’s