Learning Outside with Chalk & Water

Nov 1, 2012

When ever we can get outside of the house or classroom, we try to make the most of it.
A bright sunny day is just calling for some outside play and learning for all ages.

I started with an Invitation to Play with the materials pictured above.

Ages: 6 months-6 years +
(see Handy Tips at the bottom for ideas to simplify or extend to meet your child's needs)

Materials: Chalk, water, paint brushes, foam stampers

An 8 month old and 3 year old dive right in. Both practicing different skills and learning from the same yet different experiences

Above there are fine & gross motor skills being practiced, sharing, painting, sensory experience with water, writing, stamping, concentrating, observing.

Learning about gravity and properties of water. The water runs towards the lowest point.

Painting water over the top of chalk gives it a strong and vibrant colour. Use descriptive language.

Look... no strings! Baby learns by chasing around a stick of chalk. The curved surface makes it roll.

Practice writing or spelling

Just making footprints? No. Learning about patterns, shapes, printing, mirror image and evaporation

Learn more about numbers. Writing them, tracing them, counting and stamping the corresponding number.

Handy Tips

- Simplify this activity for younger children by providing as an "Invitation to Play" and seeing where they go with it. There's no need to push a specific literacy/numeracy focus. You can see the learning they can get out of simply exploring the materials.

- Extend this activity for older/more advanced children by encouraging them to write spelling words, play giant games of tic-tac-toe, work on group problem solving, represent harder maths equations on the concrete, test evaporation in different weather conditions, write brain maps etc.

- Always supervise young children when outside, around water or possible choking hazards.

- Mix it up by adding different materials to investigate and explore outside in the same way. Try the same materials plus a pile of twigs, or without chalk and only water, add pebbles/stones/leaves...etc.

- Talk with your child about what they are doing. This will help them understand the physical and mental processes they are going through as well as giving them the vocabulary to describe it.

- Use chalk outside to learn more about the parts of the body.

Happy playing,
Debs :)

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  1. Love this! We have a toddler at home and these kids of activities are so fun. We'll have to wait a bit for weather to warm up (it's chillier here in VB than normal after the hurricane). I pinned and stumbled this as well. :)

  2. I look forward to trying this with my little girl and my baby (when he or she is old enough!). It's a great activity for older and younger children to do together.

  3. Have to file this away for sunny weather. Great ideas as always!!

  4. Kids love to be outside, using water and making marks with chalk. Roll them all into one day and you have a brilliant activity that keeps them interested and entertained. Love it. Thanks for posting.

  5. I love how the same materials can be enjoyed by both a toddler and a preschooler. These are the best kinds of materials, so open-ended.

    My kids love water and chalk. I always think of the old Colgate ad whenever we soak the chalk :D

  6. Look at your little man having a ball! I love chalk and water painting...always keeps young and older kids so busy and they are so colourful!

  7. They look so engrossed :) great outdoor play

  8. I absolutely love how chalk and water can be played with by all kids of all ages. Next time I will have to add some wet sponges to create shapes too....such a fab idea Debs!

  9. We love chalk and water play too! Looks like your kids had a ball, so sweet seeing their wet footprints :-)

  10. Love your blog!

    Hope you will stop by and like Simple as 1-2-3!





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