Hello!! I never thought I’d say this but I am SO thankful for Texas weather. So many of my friends are stuck inside due to snow or rain. We have been able to go outside almost every day. Granted we go outside in the rain (unless it’s storming), but for the most part, the weather has been perfect. If you’re a parent, be sure to check out my For Families category! As more time passes with schools out, I have been adding to these posts and resources!
One of our favorite outside activities is chalk. It reminds me so much of being in the classroom with my kids. Chalk was probably our favorite class reward! I spent a bit of time coming up with learning activities you can do with chalk. They are great for families at home or teachers bringing their kids outside for some fresh air and a break! Many of these activities could be done inside with markers/crayons/pencils but chalk just makes it more engaging. There’s nothing like fresh air and a new tool!
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This is our favorite chalk! I definitely prefer thicker chalk to write with outside!
Before I share ideas, I wanted to remind you that PLAY is the work of learning. If your kids want to use chalk to draw shapes or write letters or draw the silliest shape you’ve ever seen…that’s great!! These ideas are great for when they NEED something to do or you need to add a little structure. Please don’t feel like you always need to go outside with a task or plan.
This is probably the simplest idea and it can even work for toddlers! Draw as many 2D shapes as you can think of and tell them to “JUMP on the square” or “HOP on the circle.”
Here are some other prompts you could use.
- draw a pink circle
- draw a shape with 4 sides
- draw a shape with 3 angles
- draw a shape with 4 sides that is NOT a square
- my shape has 4 sides that are NOT all equal
- run to the shape with 4 equal sides
- color the shape with 8 sides
Sight words are so important for new and growing readers! If you write the sight words yourself, they can run, jump, hop, walk or throw a ball to the sight word you call out. You could also give them a sponge and have them wash the sight word you call out. If your kids want to write the words, call them out and have them write the word you say.
Sight Word Scramble
Your kids can unscramble each of the sight words. This is a class activity kids do in school all the time but adding chalk make it way more engaging! You could also flip it and write the sight word correctly. Then have students come up with their own scramble!
If your child has spelling words or words they are working with, this is a great practice activity! They’ll love filling in the missing letters of their words!
We love these animals at our house! They are great for so many different activities. Depending on where your kids are with writing and spelling, you may choose to just have them write the beginning sound. You could also do these activities with the animals and chalk:
- write the whole word
- fill in the missing letters (rh_n_)
- write the words and put them in alphabetical order
- write the names of the animals in a few different ways and have them circle the correct one
- write a sentence about each animal
Sorting by Size
Sorting and ordering by size is an important skill for math and science! Have students line up from biggest to smallest, heaviest to lightest or shortest to tallest. I did this in a small area but you could have them line the animals up and down the street or even draw their own.
Predator and Prey
Students can sort the animals by predator and prey. You could also do habitats/biomes, carnivore/herbivores/omnivores. To make this game even more exciting, you could place the predator and prey far apart on your sidewalk and have all the animals in a bucket. Say “run with the tiger and sort it by predator or prey.”
If you’re not familiar with ten frames, they are a super popular tool for helping students understand numbers. Draw several ten frames and have students add animals to them. Then they can write a number sentence or count them. For the below picture, the number sentence would be 3+7=10 or 10-3=7.
Since you’re already outside, this is a great time to talk about food chains or food webs. In this example, the food chain starts with the sun –> grass –> zebra –> lion.
Draw a few big lines up and down your sidewalk. They can be straight, zig-zag or wavy. Then have your kids line their animals up! They can also practice walking on one foot up and down the line or hopping up and down the line.
Number puzzles help kids develop number sense and build their fluency. To create this, draw a grid. Then start with a number (depending on your kids’ current understanding). Underneath each number, it should be 10 MORE. Beside each number should be one more. Think of them like a cut apart 100s chart. Leave several spaces blank for your kids to fill them in. They would probably really enjoy creating their own and having you fill in the numbers!
For the last activity, draw large circles and put 1 number inside each circle. Have them fill in ways to make the number. It could be number sentences, tally marks or pictures. To make it more interesting, have them “run to number 8 and write a number sentence.”
For this activity, you can choose any number! You can even use number sentences to make it more challenging. (For example 4+7 > 2+8.) You can add the numbers and have your kids write the symbol or do the opposite. It’s an important skill to be able to come up with the numbers for each side too! I love this activity because if you have multiple kids they could be doing the same thing but with different numbers!
Here are a few other activities you could try with your chalk!
- Take the animals outside and trace their shadows
- Draw a railroad for your trains or cars and drive them
- Write encouraging notes to your neighbors
- Write sums, differences or products around your driveway or sidewalk and call out a number sentence. Kids should run to the sum or difference.
- Write number sentences all over and make some incorrect. Have them scrub the incorrect number sentences off the sidewalk.
- Draw a number line (you can start at 0 or as high as you want.) Have kids run to a number or hop and call each number out.
- Draw a number line with missing numbers. They should run and fill them out.
- Write letters and call out the sound, letter name or a word that starts with the letter. They should run to it or throw a beanbag to it.
- Write a number line and leave numbers off. Leave a note for your neighbors and ask them to fill them in!
- Write numbers around and have them make rock or leaf collections to match the numbers.
What’s your favorite chalk activity??? I’d love to add to the list!