I really love chalk….I love to observe what kids will choose to write/draw, I love to see how kids hold and control a big fat piece of chalk, I love to take a piece of chalk and feel like a kid again myself.

If you are like me, you keep sidewalk chalk in your tote bag for an on-the-go activity accessible when you need it (We go to the park a lot and we spend a lot of time in the courtyard at my mom’s assisted living home). Well, I wanted to suggest some teaching tips to maximize your outdoor play…

1) I start almost every activity with free play for exploration and observation….no prompts, no directions, but I make observations and comments….”Ohh, you drew a line (a squiggle, a swirl, etc.) “I wonder what you are drawing/imagining in your mind” or “What does it look like to you?” “Does it remind you of something?”
2) After about 5 minutes I might ask “Can you show me how you hold the chalk?” “Is that comfortable for you?” Then you might model the proper way to hold it by saying “This is how I hold it because this is the way grown ups hold the tools they write with….I wonder if you are able to hold the chalk this way?” (If this is complicated for your little one or takes the fun out of it, move on! You might say “Well for now, hold the chalk however it feels right and we can learn the way grown ups hold chalk another time.”
3) “What pictures would you like to draw most? I’m imagining a flower in my mind….I wonder if we can draw a flower out of JUST circles”
4) “What can we write? Letters, numbers, words? Which would you like to write? Write a ____ with me”
5) “Can you trace (or write on top of) my writing?

Ideas:
-Draw sets of shapes and teach your little one to draw a line to make matches.
-Draw a hopscotch.
-Draw the alphabet out of order and have your little one hop around trying to step on the letters in order.
-Draw a house out of shapes.
-Draw different types of lines (dashed, zigzag, semi-circles, etc) and have your little one try “copy cat” your writing

Jude traces his name!

Great job Jude!

Sean Patrick freewrites on our brick exterior

Sean Patrick writes on top of mommy's shapes.