Get Your Kids Playing with Sidewalk Chalk

With hundreds of toys and video games lining the toy store shelves, kids today have an endless number of ways to entertain themselves. However, instead of making them happier and encouraging them to play independently, these toys seem to have quite the opposite effect – they subliminally tell children that toys and games must be created for them, and that if they want to have more fun, they need more toys. Parents often find themselves wondering how to get their children to play independently, how to stop them begging for more toys and why they can’t run outside and play on their own like the children a few decades ago.

Kids are Rarely Creative While Playing

Studies point to the same underlying problem – the lack of unstructured play. Kids are naturally creative and full of imagination, but structured games and cartoon-related toys do not give them the opportunity to fully utilize their creativity. They tell kids how to play, and leave them with little room for imagination or creation. As kids stop using these skills, they lose them and grow increasingly dependent on such toys to provide entertainment. In order to break away from this harmful cycle, you as a parent can encourage your child to engage in independent and imaginative play.

Introducing Sidewalk Chalk

Imaginative play will come to your child naturally, as long as you provide the right kind of encouragement. Take the branded toys and structured games away, and give your child the simplest items to use as toys. Old cardboard boxes, clothes you no longer wear, and sidewalk chalk are a few wonderful examples. Such items provide no suggestions at all on how they must be used, and will not entertain your kids unless they take the initiative to come up with their own ways of using them.

Introducing Sidewalk Chalk
"Joseph watching Faith draw_3311c" by James Emery is licensed under CC BY 2.0

But How do Kids Play with Sidewalk Chalk?

Playing with sidewalk chalk is exhilarating. Kids have a canvas many times larger than themselves, creating endless possibilities as to what they can do with it. There are many ways in which your child can have fun with sidewalk chalk. Here are just a few of them:

  1. Creating self-portraits – With the entire sidewalk as their canvas, kids no longer have to confine their self-portraits to the mini stick figures they normally draw in their drawing books. Your children can have great fun tracing each other’s outlines and then getting to work filling them in with life-sized features and clothing.
  2. Making up their own games – Hopscotch is perhaps one of the most popular games played with sidewalk chalk. You can teach this forgotten game to your children, and let them come up with their own cool sidewalk games.
  3. Creating customized stages for plays – The next time your child plays House, Restaurant, or Doctor with friends , they can use sidewalk chalk to create the different locations in their pretend games. Rooms, cutlery, furniture and offices can all be created right on the sidewalk and washed right off when they’re done.
  4. Telling their own stories – Kids are natural storytellers, and sidewalk chalk can make their story telling even more exciting. Let them draw characters and vehicles on stones with a permanent marker, and then draw the setting for the story on the sidewalk. They can then use the story stones and the sidewalk drawing to make their imaginative stories really come to life!

Drawing on the sidewalk and playing sidewalk games encourages kids to be creative and spend more time outdoors. Moreover, just like the kids’ imaginations, the possibilities are endless and you can be sure this is one toy your child won’t tire of playing with.

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