Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Chalk It Up!

Welcome to the July 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Family Creations

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared crafts, recipes, and philosophies of creativity. 

Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


I recently bought a huge box of sidewalk chalk for $5 at a craft store. It was a total impulse purchase: a marketing success on the part of the store which appealed to both my love of bargains and my desire to create space for fun Summertime activities for Daniel (like all the other kids are doing).

I bought the chalk not expecting much, though, since it's hard to predict which activities Daniel will think are awesome and which will be looked at once and then ignored.

Turns out, the chalk was a hit—and not just with Daniel! I've been surprised at how the sidewalk chalk draws playfulness and creativity out of all of us: perhaps because of the transient nature of chalk art, there seems to be (extra) free license to just have fun and let it flow.

We all (our neighbors, too!) get to enjoy looking at the colors and patterns for a while, then eventually, it rains and our canvas is washed clean again, ready for new and fun expressions of imagination.

It turns out that playing with sidewalk chalk is a wonderful, multi-sensory experience, too! We get to enjoy the sights, sounds, and smells of being outdoors, along with the bright colors of the chalk and the dry, silky feel of it in our hands. Playing with chalk also encourages little ones to develop fine motor skills which will be useful in learning to write letters later on.

Jaymz and Matthew have created the bulk of the chalk pieces so far, but I've jumped in a bit to add some things here and there.


Daniel mostly likes to draw on the steps, which is fun, too.

I'm looking forward to using up all of this chalk together over the next few months—who knows what we'll create with it next!


Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
(This list will be updated by afternoon July 10 with all the carnival links.)
  • Garden Soup — Bailey finds a way to help momma Katy (from Muse of a Daffodil) in the garden.
  • This One Time, I Tried To Make a Car — Ashley at Domestic Chaos tries once again to make something crafty from stuff around the house.
  • Pin-tastic creative ideas — Lucy at Dreaming Aloud shares how Pinterest is inspiring creativity in her family this summer.
  • Baby Hiccups In The Womb — Alinka at Baby Web shares one of the ways she bonds with her unborn baby.
  • Turtle Mosaics — Lyndsay at ourfeminist{play}school and her little family spend a quiet hour making a turtle mosaic inspired by the work of Melanie Mikecz.
  • Edible Art Plus 8 Art Supply Recipes — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares some natural, chemical-free art supply alternatives, which are gauranteed to be tons of fun for children of all ages. They taste great too!
  • A surprise art lesson — Tat at Mum in search has been taking art lessons from her 5-year-old son.
  • Memory Creation — Laura from Pug in the Kitchen talks about how her family aims to create as many memories as they can as a family.
  • A Picture is Worth A Thousand Words — Melissa at Momma Beer tries to replace cars with crafts.
  • My Creative Family: Sometimes Messy, Always Fun — Emily at S.A.H.M i AM embraces the messes that sometimes accompany creative play but admits you don't always have to get dirty to have fun.
  • Fun Family Learning: Constellation Cave Tutorial — Abbie at Farmer's Daughter gives step-by-step instructions for building a fun new twist on a cardboard box playhouse.
  • Cooking... Kind Of — ANonyMous at Radical Ramblings makes pizza with her daughter, hoping to inspire a love of cooking and encourage a bigger interest in food. As well as making mess and having lots of fun, of course!
  • Crockpot Refried BeansThat Mama Gretchen's family loves to experiment with new recipes, and today she's sharing a kitchen success!
  • Creating Memories — Andrea at Tales of Goodness reflects on how the best creations can emerge from just letting kids be kids.
  • Making Beautiful Things ... And Sometimes Just Average-Looking Ones — Tamara at Tea for Three looks for ways to add more craft and creativity into every day family life.
  • Making Fruit Leather Together — When Amy Willa at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work took some time to involve her children in the process of finally trying a fruit leather recipe stored on her Pinterest food board, she got more than just a scrumptious homemade snack as a result!
  • Making Glasses from Children's Art — Mandy at Living Peacefuly with Children used her children's artwork to make some very special glasses for her husband for Father's Day.
  • Preparing Family Meals Together — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares how she started the tradition of creating meals together with her children, which makes family gatherings more fun.
  • It's a trap! — Lauren at Hobo Mama shares the innovative snares her son and husband have set for her.
  • How To Make The Most Of A Very Wet Summer — Luschka at Diary of a First Child shows us the first few weeks of the Summer Camp At Home project for keeping boredom at bay.
  • Creating with... well, what do we have? — If necessity is the mother of invention, Momma Jorje thinks perhaps boredom is (or at least can be) the mother of creativity. In a pinch, she got creative with a household item to entertain herself and her toddler.
  • Creating Joy! Felt Counting Fish and other Fun — Terri at Child of the Nature Isle started creating Felt Counting Fish and then fell down the rabbit hole of fun with a number of other games.
  • I Am Going! (A Code Name: Mama Homemade Theater Production of Mo Willems' Elephant & Piggie book) — This might be the finest example of child and baby acting ever recorded. Enjoy this Mo Willems treasure via video from Dionna at Code Name: Mama.
  • DIY Summer Sleep Sack for Baby Tutorial — Shannon at GrowingSlower made an organic summer sleep sack for baby, and you can too with her easy tutorial.
  • Chalk It Up! — Amy at Anktangle recounts how an impulse buy has turned into a fun collaborative activity that she hopes will continue to foster creativity in the whole family.
  • The Family Garden — Excited that her son has been a big help in the garden this year, Ana at Pandamoly shares how her garden grows and offers up some secrets on how a toddler can be a great assistant in the garden.
  • Getting my craft on — In a guest post at Natural Parents Network, Jona at Life, Intertwined takes a trip down memory lane — and finds it in stitches.
  • Easy DIY Sandpit for Toddler Play — Christine at African Babies Don't Cry shares her easy DIY toddler sandpit tutorial.
  • Building Without Nails — Laura at Laura's Blog builds a swinging bar using just sticks and twine.
  • Family Talent Show — Erika at Cinco de Mommy holds an after-dinner family talent show.
  • Ar matey! Fun and Learning with Pirate Play. Positive Parenting Connection is sharing lots of really fun Pirate-themed learning activities for the whole family.

9 comments:

  1. Pretty pictures!
    We also turn sidewalk chalk time into family time by creating games: hopscotch, etc. Kieran loves it :)

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    1. Thanks for the tip—I'll definitely keep that in mind for the future!

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  2. I got to see some of your family's chalk creations and was much impressed! I love how simple things can bring everyone together and foster creativity.

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    1. Thank you! I've been surprised at how something as simple as a chalk doodle on the sidewalk makes the mundane act of coming into the house from the car so much more enjoyable! =)

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  3. Your chalk drawings are beautiful! Some of the styles I'm seeing look like the kinds of things I would draw. I should really get our chalk out. We have a wooden fence and a wooden picnic table in our lot we could decorate, but no real concrete without going into the road. I wonder if we could do alright taking it to a park... but then there is the playground and Sasha would rather play on that. Its going to have to cool off some first, though. It is dangerously hot here!

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    1. Thank you so much! We've been thinking of taking it with us to the park some day and doing a sort of family "chalk bombing" like people do with yarn. (KWIM?) I'll let you know how that goes if it ever does go down. ;)

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  4. Impressive use of space. Looks like your little one has covered every inch of the walk. Great story. Love the horizontal chalking pose.

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  5. Awesome! Sometimes genius is in simplicity ;) What a great way to have so much fun with something as simple and inexpensive as chalk!!!

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  6. Chalking is one of our favourites too and I'm inspired to be more active in creating some myself after seeing your family creations!

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