The sun was shining, the summer air was a mere 77 degrees, and there was a light breeze rustling the leaf-heavy trees. Perfect. So, when Little Miss asked to play outside, we took full advantage of the weather with some sidewalk chalk and her bicycle. It wasn’t long before the sidewalk chalk turned into games and
we I was sneaking learning into our play.
When was the last time you really played hopscotch? Really played. As in, get a pebble and toss it into the squares, hop, return hop, and lean over to pick up the pebble. Not only is the actual act of drawing a hopscotch game great for gross motor skills, but the game itself is fantastic for hopping, balance, and coordination. If you haven’t played it in awhile, break out some sidewalk chalk and try it. You’ll be surprised how weak abdominal muscles can really impact your ability to play.
Sidewalk Chalk Tightrope Balance Maze
We love doing the balance maze, because it’s never the same thing twice. Simply take a piece of sidewalk chalk and draw one long line. The line can curve, it can be straight, or it can even be a zigzag. There is no right or wrong way to draw it. As the parent/teacher, it gives you an opportunity to observe your child’s creativity and their gross motor skills as they wind the line down the sidewalk, through the driveway, around the bend, etc. Once the line has been drawn, take turns walking on it pretending it’s a tightrope. Balance is key here and it’s great practice for those fine tuning their gross motor skill set.
Don’t overlook the benefits of simply drawing with sidewalk chalk outdoors. Fine motor skills get a workout as children hold and manipulate the chalk, but the bending, the squatting, the moving from place to place to draw their masterpieces is excellent practice. Pick a design and ask them to draw it or let them come up with things on their own. Writing a happy message on the sidewalk is also good letter formation practice. Besides, a cheerful message is sure to make your neighbors smile.
Using sidewalk chalk for gross motor skills practice not only brings out the creativity in children, it also gets them outdoors in the sunshine and fresh air. A healthy dose of Vitamin D and some laughter does the body just as much good as any formalized physical education program ever could.