There is nothing more magical and powerful in this world than a child’s imagination. For children growing up these days, life is very different to how things were for people growing up, say, in the 80s and 90s. Back then, although there was TV, and computer games consoles etc, children instead spent the majority of their childhoods playing games with their friends outdoors. As time went by and technology began advancing, however, something changed. Suddenly, during the summer holidays, streets, fields, and parks that were once flooded with kids, became a whole lot quieter. Instead of playing physical outdoor games, children instead choose to spend their time playing computer games and communicating with each other online. Needless to say, obesity rates in children sky-rocketed, and in actual fact, experts are worried that if things carry on, children will actually have shorter life expectancies than those of their parents. Thankfully people have taken note and parents, teachers, and other authority figures are now actively encouraging children to socialize and to get more physical exercise by playing safely outdoors. Even better is the fact that this advice seems to be working. If you’re looking to encourage your child to play with their friends outdoors, all you need is a set of sidewalk chalk.
Why sidewalk/driveway chalk?
Sidewalk chalk, as the name implies, is chalk that is designed specifically to be used on sidewalks and other outdoor areas. Sidewalk chalk comes in a variety of different colors, it is perfectly safe for the environment, and over time it will fade and will easily be washed away in the rain. Children all over the globe are using this specially designed chalk every single day, in a number of different ways. One such way is by using it to play sidewalk, or, to be even safer, driveway chalk games. The asphalt functions as a blank canvas for your child’s creativity, and with bright and colorful chalk, it can be used to play a number of fun and exciting games. Here’s a look at 12 exciting and imaginative sidewalk chalk games for kids.
Chalk obstacle course
For children, an obstacle course is the ultimate thrill ride as it is fun and exciting, with just a hint of danger. Unfortunately, unless you’re very fortunate, you probably don’t live all that close to a functional obstacle course, and besides which, even if you did, you would probably be worried sick about your child taking a tumble and hurting themselves. However, all is not lost, because with a set of sidewalk chalk, and a large driveway or a quiet sidewalk, your child can enjoy their very own 2D obstacle course. The idea is that you, or they, use the chalk to draw various obstacles on the sidewalk, which the child will then need to avoid. It is similar to hopscotch, in that you can draw certain obstacles, which, if the child lands on, will force them to perform a dare/forfeit. For example, if they land on a square they may have to spin around 5 times. This is a very beneficial game because you can incorporate exercise into the dares/forfeits, so your child gets some beneficial exercise whilst playing and having fun in the process.
The sidewalk Simon game
Who here doesn’t remember Simon? Yes, the ultimate 80s game that drove households worldwide crazy with frustration is back, well, kind of. This memory game was of course originally played via an electronic device, which illuminated different colored sections in a random order. The aim of the game was to basically remember which order the sections were illuminated in. It may sound simple, but in reality, it was anything but. Simon was and still is, a fantastic memory game so your child will learn and improve their basic motor functions as they play. How can it be played with chalk? Simple, you simply draw the different colored sections of the game and then call out, or have your kid call out, their favorite colors in a random order. The other players then simply have to hop from one section to the next, in the same order as the colors were called out.
As we mentioned, to begin with, a child’s imagination is an incredibly powerful thing, so why not let them bring their imaginations to life with chalk? Your child can draw a magical forest, an enchanted castle, a space station, a distant planet, or anything else they can think of. Simply reach for the chalk, find an open stretch of sidewalk, or ideally, your own driveway, and get as creative as you would like. You can be the prop master and can create your child’s magical world, or you can leave them to do the drawing.
Hold on, how can you play soccer with chalk? Well, actually, it’s easier than you would think. No, you don’t use the chalk for a ball, but what you can do is use the chalk to draw your own soccer pitch. It can be as big or as small as you would like, and no, you don’t need to color every inch in green, though you can if you would like. Basically, find an empty stretch of the driveway where there is no risk of traffic, and draw the typical soccer markings, including the goal posts on either side. Then simply grab a ball, and enjoy a game of soccer with your child, or have them play with their friends or siblings. Remember, you don’t have to draw a soccer pitch at all, you could go with a tennis court, a golf course, or even a ten-pin bowling alley, complete with plastic bowling pins at the end. It may take time, but when you see how happy your kids look when you’ve finished, it will have been worth every second.
Remember, kids don’t necessarily have to run and jump around like crazy little people to have fun. No, sometimes kids can have fun in silence when they’re being creative. A great and very simple way of keeping the kids entertained for hours is to simply hand them the chalk, direct them to the nearest stretch of open driveway or sidewalk, and tell them to draw whatever they like. If you wish to make things a little more competitive, why not have them compete against friends, siblings, or even against the clock, and to draw a certain picture in a certain way. The child that finishes fastest, or who draws the best picture, will win.
Sidewalk chalk star constellations
Kids of all ages seem to be mesmerized by space, and it’s easy to understand why. If your child has a keen interest in space, science, stars, or anything else space-related, why not have them create their very own chalk constellations on the sidewalk? You could simply color in a large section in black and have them draw yellow or white constellations in a random pattern, or you could encourage them to learn real-life constellations and to recreate them on the sidewalk. You could hand them a book with pictures of the different constellations in the galaxy and have them recreate them, or you could get an image up on your phone. This is a great way of educating your child whilst encouraging them to have a whole lot of fun in the process.
Tic-Tac-Toe is one of the oldest and easiest games in the world, and kids and adults alike just can’t seem to get enough. Sometimes known as noughts and crosses, one player will be an X, whereas the other will be an O. On a grid, players will take it in turns to draw their specific shape, with the intention of getting 3 in a row, either vertically, horizontally, or diagonally. To play the game simply draw the grid on the sidewalk, hand each player a piece of chalk, and have them attempt to connect 3 shapes in a row. At the end of each game, simply erase the Xs and Os with a damp cloth, and start again. The game requires two players but is a whole heap of fun, and is very basic to play and learn.
There’s nothing more annoying than those fiddly little pieces of chalk left over in the bottom of the pack. They’re too large to throw in the trash, but they’re too small to use to draw anything with great detail with either. What you can do however, is dig out all of those blues you have left and basically use them to draw puddles with on the sidewalk. Kids cannot resist a good rain puddle, and as soon as they see them they instantly feel compelled to splash in them. By drawing chalk puddles on the sidewalk however, your children can “splash” in the puddles, with the added bonus of not getting dirty and soaking wet. It’s literally a win-win situation as your child can jump in as many “puddles” as they like, and you don’t then have to worry about getting them into clean, warm, dry clothes afterward.
For children, learning can be a dull affair at times, which is why you may want to find ways of enhancing their learning experiences. Learning to spell is tricky for kids, yet if you create your very own sidewalk chalk spelling hopscotch game, your child can learn to spell and have the time of their life in the process. Simply draw a hopscotch grid on the asphalt, except you will use specific letters, letters of their name for example. The aim of the game will then be for your child to spell out a unique word, again, their name perhaps, by hopping onto specific squares containing the relevant letters. Have them hop onto each relevant square and write down the letter when they get it right. Spelling hopscotch is great because you can begin with basic words, and as your child learns and progresses further, you can go with slightly more complex words. It also encourages them to become physically active, and as you know, exercise for children is very important.
Wet paper target practice
This is one of the most enjoyable sidewalk chalk games you could ever wish for, and it is very easy to play as well. Simply find a large open space on your driveway, or the sidewalk, and draw a large circular board. Next, split it into sections, and give each section a relative points value. For example, for the outside sections, you could make them worth 10 points, as they are the biggest. Next, moving inwards, you could make these sections worth 15 points, before finally giving the Bullseye in the center of the target, a points value of 50 points. Now, take some kitchen roll, or, toilet paper, and soak it in water before rolling it into a ball. Next, take it in turns to stand a certain distance away from the target and to throw these wet paper balls at the target. Each player gets three throws, and the player that scores the most points will be declared the winner. This game is great in the summer, but just remember that you will need to re-draw the target as the chalk will begin to wash away every time it’s hit with a soaking wet ball of paper.
The chalk maze
This game takes a decent amount of time to prepare, but once complete, it will provide your kids with endless hours of fun. The idea behind the chalk maze is that you, or your child, will draw out a maze with chalk, with the aim of the game being that players should get from one end of the maze to the other, without hitting any dead ends. The maze can be as simple or as complex as you like, though obviously the more intricate and detailed the maze, the more fun your child will likely have. You can even draw obstacles in certain parts of the maze, that could perhaps result in players having to perform a forfeit if they walk into one.
Finally, the last game we have on our list is one we’re calling ‘alphabet activities’. This game is very, very simple to put together and play, but that doesn’t make it any less fun or educational. Simply have your kids draw squares on the sidewalk in chalk, and have them place a letter in each space. Next, have hop into the square of your choosing, and to perform an activity beginning with the letter located in the square that they landed on. For example, if they landed on a square containing the letter J, you could have them Jump, because it begins with J. Want another idea? Okay, one more. If they landed on a letter S, you could have them Squat. This game works on a child’s physical fitness, plus it helps engage their brains and works on their cognitive abilities and their basic motor skills as well.