It feels great to be outside once again now that the weather is warm and summer is almost here! Being home with two toddlers has been exhausting, but getting them outside gives us all a break. Since toddlers and preschoolers love to move and learn, here is a great outdoor activity that incorporates both.
This Sidewalk Chalk Shape Game is as simple as it gets and will keep your toddler or preschooler busy for a bit! All you need is some sidewalk chalk and pavement and you have a fun game for your little one! It’s like a life-size game board where your child can learn, explore, or practice their shapes and colors.
A Multi-Sensory Approach to Learning
Since toddlers learn through play and exploration of their environment, they understand best when taking a hands-on approach to learning. Every child also has their own style when it comes to absorbing new information. Some children may learn best while jumping up and down, feeling objects with their fingers, or listening to a song.
This activity incorporates standing up, jumping, and running. It’s a simple activity with very little preparation, set-up, or clean up. Your toddler will love it!
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What You Need:
What To Do:
An adult should draw and color different shapes using different colored sidewalk chalk on a safe pavement surface. Use shapes that your child knows, as well as ones that he or she is learning. Be sure to use a variety of colors and shapes to make it interesting and challenging for your child. You can draw the shapes in any formation that you wish or you can stick to a specific pattern.
There are a variety of ways to play with this sidewalk chalk shape board:
1. First, you can call out a color and shape for them to find and go to. For example, go to the Blue Circle. Your child will run to the blue circle until you call out another shape.
2. Also, you can set up your shapes like a hopscotch board where you will have your child jump out with 2 feet on different shapes and then to 1 foot on one shape.
3. You can use other things besides shapes like letters or numbers, as well. If you’re a really good drawer, get creative! You can do this using animals, vehicles, or any other objects. I am not a good drawer by any means so my skills stopped at drawing shapes!
4. Have your child call out shapes or colors to have YOU jump to them. They’ll love feeling like the teacher and it’s till helping them to identify the shapes and colors.
Skills that this activity addresses:
This is a fun activity that addresses a variety of skills. For this sidewalk chalk shape learning activity, your toddler is practicing:
- Gross Motor Skills: running, jumping, hopping
- Visual Scanning and discrimination: Finding and locating the shapes or colors as they’re scattered and being able to tell the difference between them.
How to increase or decrease the challenge:
You can make this activity easier for younger children that are just learning their shapes and colors or harder for older preschoolers who have already mastered some of these skills.
To make it easier, use only two shapes or colors. This will help them more easily identify the shape or color that you call out. For the youngest learners, just call out a color because they may recognize colors before shapes.
To make it more challenging, use a larger variety of shapes and colors. You can use however many you want! Include pentagons, diamonds, etc. and use plenty of different colors. I also recommend doing this activity with letters and numbers for preschoolers.
Ways to incorporate cognition and language:
You really can and SHOULD incorporate cognition (knowledge) and language into any activity you are doing with your little one. Just merely talking through the steps that they’re performing will help build their vocabulary and understanding of new words and concepts.
Remember your toddler is constantly listening and absorbing everything around them, including language. Here are a few ways to build cognition and language during this sidewalk chalk shape learning activity:
- Ask them to say the color or shape they are standing on
- Teach them new vocabulary such as jump, hop, skip, run
- Ask them what other objects are that color
- Use letters or numbers to make it more challenging for older children