Sidewalks are everywhere in the city. Why just walk on them? Take advantage of nearby sidewalks as a source of creative outdoor play for your little one. There are oodles of things you can do with a sidewalk and a bit of chalk. Grab some chalk and your child and get inspired by nature.

What can you do with chalk on the walk?

  • Draw pictures of objects you have found in nature, such as a leaf, the sun, clouds, or a rainbow. Look around you and take turns with your child drawing items from nature in your view and vicinity.
  • Practice spelling simple nature words, such as tree, bird, sky, and cloud.
  • Draw mountains, streams, jungles, and oceans. Then let your child use toy animals to play in these wild spaces. Do they have a water source to drink from? Trees for shade? Shelter?
  • Draw a tree. Take turns with your child adding elements that can be found on, in, and around trees—such as a bird, a nest, a spider, a person, a swing, and so on.
  • Draw a giant cloud. Then encourage your child to draw herself on the cloud. Below the cloud, create an imaginary landscape.
  • Draw a ladybug. Create a series of dots on one side, and encourage your child to match the dots, symmetrically, on the other side.
  • Draw a butterfly. Take turns adding design elements to the wings.

Let your child's imagination soar on the sidewalk, using nature as a source of inspiration.

Plant the Seed: Tend the sidewalk near your home. Sweep it. Keep it clear of litter. Weed it.

This activity promotes creative play, exercise, and relaxation.

Excerpted from It's a Jungle Out There! by Jennifer Ward, (c) 2011. Published by arrangement with Trumpeter, an imprint of Shambhala Publications, Inc., Boston.