It may seem like a simple piece of chalk, but it is the beginning of a million activities taking place every day on driveways, sidewalks and playgrounds. It unleashes hopscotch. Foursquare. Tic-tac-toe. It is the brush that paints portraits, landscapes and still lifes. It is hangman and mazes and puzzles. It’s all of these things without batteries or screen, and it demands kids spend a sunny day outside. And it washes away with a light rain or a quick pass with the hose.
My memories of recesses and Saturday afternoons of my youth include a handy piece of sidewalk chalk at the ready. Admittedly, there’s a whole lot more to keep kids busy these days, but put a piece of chalk in their hands and the seeds of creativity may be sown.
I may be overselling the power of sidewalk chalk, but it really is one of those staples of outdoor play that should always be on hand. As luck would have it, making sidewalk chalk at home is surprisingly simple and makes a pretty good rainy day activity all its own (with adult supervision). Using plaster of Paris, tempera paints and empty toilet paper rolls, custom sticks of chalk are fun to assemble and are ready to use the next day.
Here’s how to get started.