Liquid Chalk

I don’t think I need to go into detail why outside time is crucial for small children. Whether it’s improved vision, a dose of vitamin D, or simply a release of energy and gain of exercise, we can list a number of benefits that come with setting children free from the indoors. A good rule of thumb is that kids should spend at the least an hour a day outside.

I grew up in the outdoors. I loved sunshine, I loved snow, I loved rain, I loved everything about the fresh air and what seemed to be limitless boundaries. I was always outside. But I also grew up surrounded by woods that created an enchanting atmosphere. Unfortunately my son doesn’t have that at the moment. He has a regular yard in a regular neighborhood.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m super grateful that we live in our house, with our yard, in our neighborhood. It is, however, somewhat of a challenge trying to fit in time for the outdoors. The things that drew me outside as a kid were far different than what’s available to him at this point in time, and more often than not we resort to doing the same things we do inside.

We play with cars. He rides his little push truck along the driveway the same way he does in the living room. We run around chasing each other. We sit and read books.

He has a lot of fun, and I don’t feel like I’m failing in anyway. I just keep trying to figure out how to make outside time special.

As I’ve said in past posts, my son really loves arts and crafts. So today I thought I’d bring the art outside. We’ve played with chalk before, but this time around I decided to change it up by making liquid chalk.


What You Need:
– Squirt bottles (or spray bottles if you want to give spray chalk a try)
– 3 cups of water
– 6 tablespoons of cornstarch
– Food coloring
– A bowl to mix everything in
– A funnel, or something that helps make pouring easier

The bottles are easy enough to get a hold of. Most dollar stores will have them in their cleaning supply or kitchenware section. The best part is the fact that once we’re done with the chalk, they can be washed out and put away for another use.2878756

To start out the activity mix the water and cornstarch together. My son loves helping in the kitchen, so this alone was exciting enough. Once that is well combined, add the food coloring (one color per batch).

For each of the colors I used 10 drops. The yellow turned out very well, and the red was nice and vibrant (though I may add more drops in the future to make it red instead of pinkish). The green was a little weak and more of a yellow, so next time I’ll add significantly more drops. The blue also needed to be a little stronger, as it turned out to be more of a gray color on the pavement.

Once the coloring is mixed into the liquid, simply pour it into the bottles and go outside!

This was perhaps among the more successful activities I’ve introduced to my son. He loved squirting the colors onto our driveway, and was fascinated by the designs he could make. I didn’t expect it, but he ended up using every drop!

Mud Painting

Spring is finally here! I can now throw open the windows, and start thinking about the plants I want to put in my garden! Most importantly we can go outside for activities that include something other than freezing! No more stir-crazy insanity!

Which brings me to today’s activity. With it being just after the time change my son’s sleep schedule is all kinds of a mess. Not wanting another night like the one I had last night, I took a deep breath and skipped his nap for the day. As 3PM came around, I could sense that he needed major distraction. Meltdown mode was on it’s way.

So we went outside.

There is nothing like a barefooted toddler running around a grassy lawn without pants (which he has refused to wear today on more than one occasion). It was absolutely adorable. The one thing th2878756at was missing, however, was MUD!

I mean, come on, what’s the point of childhood without some nice clean mud to play in? So I found a small bucket, dug up some dirt (or in our case clay, which is what this area is made out of), and added water. While we were at it, I decided to make this into an art project.

Seeing that the weeds have slowly begun their invasion in the front lawn, we first took the time to pick some dandelions (along with other colorful weeds I don’t know the names of). This in and of itself was an activity that he adored. Once I had a good handful, we went to the back deck and started making our “mud art”. I simply handed him flowers, paintbrushes, and paper.

He dug right in!

The distraction was a success. At first he was concentrated on the painting, and even used the dandelions as brushes at one point. He also discovered that they can “color” yellow when you rub them on the page).

After a while, he eventually found the joy of simply splashing around in the bucket. The weeds went in, as well as his bare hands. It was pure childhood.

Needless to say we came inside with happy moods, and his activity choices after our dirty adventure have been low key and quiet. I’m anticipating fits of exhaustion eventually, but for now I bought some time. Most importantly, however, we had fresh air, sunshine, and natural fun.