Easy Sidewalk Chalk Games

Encourage active outdoor play with a simple tool: Chalk!

Sidewalk chalk games: boy coloring outside
Clark Griffiths / Getty Images

Sidewalk chalk games are one of the easiest ways you'll find to prompt active, imaginative outdoor play. I'll bet you have a few sticks of sidewalk chalk stashed away somewhere (or more likely, a whole bucket of the stuff). It's inexpensive and kids love it. But have you ever thought about using it to for more than coloring? Try these games to get kids moving on your driveway, sidewalk, or playground.

Sidewalk Chalk Games: Ready, Set, Go

Use chalk to draw the start and finish lines of a race. Then come up with different ways to get to the end: running, marching, galloping, using a bike or scooter, jump-roping, and so on. Or play any relay race that's safe for a concrete or asphalt (read: chalkable) surface.

You can also use chalk to set boundaries for young kids playing with ride-on toys: Stop here! This gives them a little room to roam, while still keeping them as close to home as you're comfortable with.

Chalk is also ideal for creating an activity course. Draw a squiggly line for kids to follow, hashmarks for them to jump over, a box where they have to do three jumping jacks, and so on. Once you give them a few ideas for what to include in a course, kids can run with it and make their own. Or leave out the extra activities and design a chalk maze, which kids can navigate on foot, skates, scooters, etc.

Another follow-the-trail idea: Leave clues for a scavenger hunt on the ground, on tree trunks, on the side of your garage, and so on.

Sidewalk Chalk Games: Win, Lose, or Draw

Chalk is perfect for classic playground games like hopscotch and four-square. But you can also use it for other games, like outdoor Pictionary or oversize Tic-Tac-Toe, Hangman, or Dots.

Or: try sketching a set of animal footprints on the ground with chalk. Have kids guess which animal made them, then imitate that animal. Whoever guesses first can draw the next set of footprints.

Also keep chalk handy for informal games of soccer, HORSE, kickball, and so on. Use it to keep score and mark boundaries or bases.

.Of course, there's nothing wrong with using chalk to just draw. But you can add interest by having kids work together: Say, encourage them to draw a city skyline together, or collaborate on a big nature scene, or trace around each others' bodies (then fill in facial features and clothing, real or fanciful). Similarly, you can trace around other objects and turn them into drawings: the bottom of a bucket makes the round center of a flower, and so on. Or make stencils out of cardboard. 

It's also fun to experiment with water. How do drawings differ on wet or dry ground? What happens if you dribble water onto an existing drawing? 

Sidewalk Chalk Games: Target Practice

Use chalk to draw a target (on the ground or on a wall) and have kids try to hit it with beanbags, water squirters, Nerf balls or darts, and so on.

Your target could be an X, a circle, or even a series of shapes. Call out the shapes so players can aim at a certain one.

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