Get out the Sidewalk Chalk! Coloring with chalk is a great way to get outside, have fun and it’s good for your brain. Coloring reduces stress and anxiety and has the ability to relax the fear center of your brain, the amygdala. Coloring is also helpful to work on hand strength and fine motor skills. Coloring can encourage creativity and self-expression and it takes a lot of focusing skills to complete a coloring task. So, even though it looks like kids are having fun and just coloring they’re also working on a lot of skills!
Squiggle Line– This is where you draw a line and each person takes a turn adding something to the drawing. This encourages skills such as working together, cooperation, taking turns and creativity. It’s fun to see what the shape turns out to be. Children love doing things with parents which promotes a fun, feel good moment to create something together.
Chalk Art Mosaic– For this you will need painters’ tape or masking tape and chalk. You can do it on your driveway or on your garage door. (Don’t worry the rain will wash it away). Find a design or a word and then begin taping it up in different shapes and designs. It’s time then for your kids to start coloring the shapes in. Once done take off the tape and you have a beautiful mosaic picture.
Dyan and Jackson Ambrose Courtesy of Nicole Ambrose
Dots and Lines Game– Remember the dots and lines game we used to play as a kid? You create a bunch of dots in a square grid. Then each person takes a turn connecting two dots with a line. Once you have created a square with your lines you get to put your initial in the box. Once there are no more dots to connect the person with the most boxes with their initial in it wins. This game takes planning, focus and concentration, strategy and a healthy competition.
Active things to do with Chalk:
Bike or Scooter Maze- Draw a maze on your driveway or street creating a path with different stops or places to go. You can work on regulation and self-control skills by timing them as they ride through the maze and if they go out of the maze they have to start over. This helps kids slow down, focus and concentrate to make sure they are completing the maze correctly.
Long Jump– Get some measuring tape and measure up to 12 feet and mark it with the chalk. (For younger children you can start with a smaller distance and increase). Children love having competitions against others and themselves. This creates a sense of mastery and self-confidence. Have your child work on it each day and see how they improve. You can chart it and see their improvements over time. This encourages mastery, planning and self-control.
For more outside activities and fun things you can do with sidewalk chalk check out our Pinterest page at: https://www.pinterest.com/crossroadsfamilycounseling/boards/.
Written by: Sheri Mitschelen, LCSW, RPT/S who is the owner and Director of Crossroads Family Counseling Center, LLC, in Fairfax, Va. She has over 30 years of experience working with children, adolescents and families. In addition, she is an adjunct faculty member at Virginia Tech’s Marriage and Family Therapy Master’s program and the President of the Virginia Association for Play Therapy. She can be contacted at Sheri@crossroadsfamilycc.com.