Outside playtime is one of the best parts of childhood, and critical for healthy development. Soaking up some sun, running around in the air, and getting to be rambunctious builds endurance and healthy muscles and helps with mental health. Sometimes, it is important to stay closer to home though, not go far, and be ready to come back in. Maybe there are some clouds brewing, or dinner will be ready in half an hour. A solution to fidgety kids? Take some sidewalk chalk and imagination and your little ones can get wiggly and creative on the sidewalk or driveway right in front of the house.
Sidewalk games are a great way to get active. Here are some classics…but with that special Stretch-n-Grow twist!
- Hopscotch alphabet: Perhaps the most famous of the sidewalk games, most people are familiar with this game. It is an easy game: draw boxes on the sidewalk, toss a stone, penny, or similar object, and skip through the squares, avoiding where the stones landed. It can be as big or as small as desired. Instead of just making one that just goes to 10, make one with the alphabet, or new words, or maybe even some words from another language – a fun addition to our ideas from last month’s blog. When you make a bigger hopscotch grid, there will increase the amount or cardio exercise the child gets, as well as challenge them to say the alphabet while skipping a letter. They will have to pay attention and focus, rather than using memorization to help. They can rearrange it however they want too!
- Four Square: This game has been popular on school playgrounds for decades, and there’s a reason. It is simple to set up, and allows the children to engage in conversation while they’re playing. It starts with four squares of equal size drawn like a grid, and labelled, 1, 2,3 , and 4. Kids can bounce a ball back and forth within the squares until someone bounces the ball outside the square or misses catching it, that player steps outside the grid and is eliminated. Instead of the game being over for that person though, come up with ways to get the player back in. Maybe 10 jumping jacks? Run in place for 30 seconds? Use the “out” time of the game to get moving!
- Obstacle Course: Instead of setting up a big course with hoops and then having to take it back down, get colorful and create an obstacle course on the sidewalk. Red triangles can be hopping on the left foot, blue circles means hop on the right. Whatever squiggles, shapes, or shades your kiddos want to do, they can turn into an athletic obstacle that challenges them to think creatively while working out. If the children are at an age where they are starting to learn to ride a bike, this can be a good way for them to develop their skills.
Bonus: Make your own sidewalk chalk with Plaster of Paris and Tempera paint! There are lots of recipes that are cheap and easy to find on the internet!
What are some things you love to do with the kids outside?
By: Bethany Verrett