Summertime. The time for kids to be outside, just being kids. Since we are currently a little "backyard challenged" I will have to come up with some creative activities to keep Avie entertained this summer.
One thing I found, while browsing Pinterest the other day, was homemade sidewalk chalk paint. I read a post from a Mom who actually grated her kids sidewalk chalk into a powder and then added water. I was totally prepared to go that route but then I came across a different recipe which seemed less messy (I wasn't sure how I would feel about cleaning up the chalk carnage on the grater).
This recipe I used had three ingredients; cornstarch, water and food coloring. While it's super simple, there are a couple tricks:
1- I recommend using a muffin tin... it keeps your quantities in check and "paints" contained.
2- I used just a tablespoon of cornstarch in each muffin cup. You'll see from the photos that it ended up being more than enough.
3- Drop the food coloring into the cornstarch before adding water. For some reason, this makes the colors more evenly distributed. There's probably a sciencey reason for that.
4- Ratio of water to corn starch is variable. I did 1-1/2 Tablespoons to the 1 of cornstarch. HOWEVER, the chalky quality of the 'paint' is due to the starch, too much water will be like painting with fruit juice.... the deeper the brush goes into the starchy bottom of the 'paint', the more chalky and vibrant your kid's artwork will be.
Okay, so with that out of the way, now it's time to play! If your kid is anything like mine, these little activities are great as-is for about ten minutes before she wants to try something new. so, be ready to jump in with a paint brush of your own to keep them entertained with some fun new games.
Use the chalk as a fun teaching tool. Paint letters of the alphabet, then let your kiddo trace the letters with their own brush. Paint the letters big and say it out-loud as you write it down. You could even spell their name, or yours, but just have fun with it.
Draw animals and have guess what it is. I've been doing this with Avalyn as soon as she was old enough to identify animals (usually by the sounds they made)... now, she can call the animal out before I'm even done drawing it- which is totally fine. She has fun with it! You can do the same thing with shapes, or letters and numbers if they know them by sight.
Get active! Draw a hopscotch grid and teach your kiddo to play. Believe it or not, jumping on one foot does NOT come naturally. Give gentle instruction, but be okay with your tot using both feet. I guarantee that you will both be laughing! Or if your kid is older and more coordinated then draw a line and hit a ball back and forth over it, like 4 square or ping pong.
Dump it! We're all done painting, so the fun is over, right? No way! If there's anything most kids love, it's messes. Dump your muffin tin out and let the paint pour. I bet your kid won't be able to resist sticking their fingers in the crazy-patterned color puddles (that's a tongue twister). After all, it's starch and water. They're going to be so intrigued by the way it feels and moves (or doesn't) when they touch it.
Remember: this is outdoor, washable fun, Mom. Let your kids interact with the chalk paint however they feel so inclined, as long as it's safe! And you know what, the next day you can bust out the hose and show them how to wash it all away. Just make sure to have fun with the water, too!