As the end of the school year nears, your students (and let’s face it … you) are itching to spend more time outside. So how do you keep the learning going? Enter our favorite sidewalk chalk ideas for teachers!
Our team of resource-creating teachers has pulled together our favorite playground chalk ideas that incorporate learning for those warm days out on the blacktop!
Sidewalk Chalk Ideas
The traditional hopscotch can be used in a number of ways and for a number of ability levels.
In the example below, a number was called out and the child threw a rock onto the hopscotch board. Then, they had to hop to the box and perform the math equation using the number that was called out. This active game using sidewalk chalk is a great way to take your math class outside, and it can easily be adjusted to different subjects!
See more fun active games created by teachers to get students up and moving!
Draw a large clock face on the cement with numbers but no hands. The children are the hands! Call out a time, and have students lie on the clock face to show the correct time!
Draw a bullseye on the blacktop with sidewalk chalk, and put numbers in each circle. Give each student three turns to throw a small bean bag, or even a small rock, and add up their score. The person with the highest score wins!
This basic sidewalk chalk idea is great for encouraging students to do mental math.
Circles with words are a supremely simple sidewalk chalk idea, but this is a great active way to learn sight words. Write the words in circles, call out words, and have your little learners jump around the circles to the words you call out.
Change it up and draw lily pads on the blacktop and have students jump around like a frog.
Color Scavenger Hunt
Challenge students to find as many things on the playground as they can that are a similar color to each of the pieces of chalk you have available.
Color in a square of each color, and have students place the things they find on each of the squares.
Random Acts of Kindness
Leaving a beautiful rainbow on a sidewalk is a simple way to spread some positivity and kindness into others’ lives. Talk to your students about how it makes them feel when someone is kind. Then, talk about what they could draw or write for someone else to see.
Create a Giant Number Line
Draw a number line large enough for your students to jump along. Call out addition and subtraction facts and have them jump along the number line as they work them out.
For example, if you call out 20-5, they will start on 20 and jump back 5 places to 15. This is a great visual for children to see the difference between addition and subtraction.
Gross Motor Obstacle
Draw a hopscotch board, circles for jumping, a swirly line to follow, a spot to do 10-star jumps, a spot to sing the alphabet while patting your head, and whatever else you can think of. Similar to a sensory pathway, this is a great way to get your younger students outdoors and working on their gross motor skills!
Although it seems simple, having children practice writing words they are learning is another easy way to use sidewalk chalk with your class. In this example, a Kindergarten student is practicing writing his name using the correct letter formation and trying not to reverse his letters.
You could also do this with spelling words or sight words!
Design and Plan a Town
Put your students engineering brains to work by designing a city with sidewalk chalk right on the playground. Students can work in pairs or small groups to brainstorm what to include in the town such as roads, traffic lights, parking lots, houses, shops, etc.
Take the fun back inside with a Design a Summer Camp activity!
Exploring Line and Angles
This super fun piece of artwork has many learning opportunities. Learn about using line and color in artwork. Use masking tape or painter’s tape to mark out a square and then add different angled lines within the square. Color each section different colors for a wonderful effect.
After you are finished, have older children identify the different angles of the shapes within the artwork.
Download fresh angles activities for your students!
Similar to the above activity but on the fence or wall of the school (check with your administrators or janitors first!). This is the perfect way to get creative and offer students a new perspective.
Letter Formation Fun
This sidewalk chalk idea is perfect for primary learners: Write the basic letters on a sidewalk in chalk. Then, give your student a cup of water and a paintbrush. They go over the letters with the paintbrush and water, concentrating on the correct formation of each letter.
Drawing Story Elements
After listening to a picture book, head outside and have students draw the story elements for the story – characters, setting, problem, and solution? For the younger students, you might have them focus on just the characters and/or the setting.
Afterward, have the students add descriptive vocabulary around each of the images they have drawn? Or maybe personality traits around the characters. There is so much they can do with this activity!
Another activity that makes use of a number of different skills such as sight word recognition, letter recognition, or basic digraph sound recognition. Draw some cute bugs on the sidewalk, and hand students flyswatters from the dollar store. In the example below we are practicing letter recognition. We would call out a letter, and the student would swat the bug that had that letter on its body and say something that started with that letter.
Want to do sight word recognition? Replace the letter with sight words.
Teaching digraphs? Try this bug swatting game for in the classroom!
This sidewalk chalk activity may be better for a field day or fun day as it takes a lot of work. Create a maze for students to work their way through – the bigger the better. You can make it large enough for the children to walk through, or small enough for some toy cars to find their way to the finish line.
Encourage students to create their own mazes for others to work their way through.
Sound it Out!
This is a great idea for all ages. Draw some simple ‘jumping’ circles on the ground for students to jump in for different sounds in words. For a Kindergarten student, you may say a simple CVC word such as ‘hat’. The child needs to jump into one circle per sound.
Do you have an older student? Call out their spelling words and get them to jump it out… I mean sound it out.
Create a Giant Hundreds Chart
This is a sidewalk chalk idea that will keep on giving. Draw out a large grid to form the basis of your hundreds chart (100 squares). Then, get your students to fill it in. We like to start our hundreds chart from 0! For older students, you can go beyond 100, or even start at a larger number.
- Have students put a circle around the odd numbers.
- Have students place a star around the even numbers.
- Children can throw a rock and they need to say the number that is ten less, ten more, 1 less and 1 more than the number the rock lands on.
Again, this can be used on a variety of topics. Write a list of numbers. Then, across from the numbers, draw squares with corresponding numbers of dots all mixed up. Children need to match the number to the dots.
Why not practice matching lowercase and uppercase letters, or beginning sounds with end sounds in words such as c-at and p-en.
I the end result is a beautiful mix of images, letters, numbers, and whatever your students decide to do, it’s still a fantastic learning experience.
Letting their creative juices flow, practicing letters and numbers by themselves, and for younger students – developing their fine motor skills during this time is a win-win for everyone involved!
We’d love to see your chalk learning experiences!
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Banner image via shutterstock/Vladislav Gajic