Here at Kids Play Space, it’s all about celebrating and promoting SIMPLE, yet beautifully rich PLAY! Play should be accessible to all children. That’s why I love the easiest, most affordable (even free) ideas the best. Absolutely nothing fancy. In this post, I share some of the benefits and multiple possibilities for FUN in the timeless, simple, classic outdoor activity: HOPSCOTCH! That is, Hopscotch and variations on a (chalk play) theme!!
Following your child’s lead means that although you may have an idea in mind about how the activity will pan out… it could go any way! Hopscotch, drawing, writing, maps, roads, train tracks, tracing leaves/flowers/hands/feet, Os & Xs, ‘Hangman’, obstacle courses, ‘house’ plans, … Fences and pots can be coloured, and if water is added to the mix – what a gorgeous outdoor painting experiment! Just check out this beautiful open-ended Wood Chip Chalk Art idea by Housing A Forest and The Stay-At-Home-Mom Survival Guide‘s Spell Your Name Hopscotch Game! So many ideas!
Chalk (coloured or white), is a great play resource. I love that it is temporary, washing away easily in the rain. Also, you don’t need a large area for Hopscotch or many other play ideas using chalk; the smallest section of concrete, or even the footpath, walkway or playground can be a perfect canvas!
For some lovely, outdoor, pre-writing and writing practise you can’t go past chalk play. It’s a nice dose of fine motor strengthening practise, and perhaps surprisingly, the small, broken pieces of chalk are especially good for encouraging little finger muscles to work hard!
From a sensory perspective, the vibration felt through the hand from a rough surface, through the chalk when using it, is powerful tactile sensory feedback. That is, it allows for strong, clear messages to be sent to the brain about the body’s position in space (body awareness) through the sense of touch.
Our little one wasn’t interested in the drawing part though…of course!! #OTMamaFail !
He was really wanting to just practise his counting, and also to show off his hopping and jumping skills he said he’d been practising at kinder. So, it was his decision that our hopscotch (“hop squatch”) on this particular day would go all the way up to 14! Actually, as you can see, the hopscotch sort of morphed into counting stepping stones, which we both thought was pretty cool!
He jumped, hopped (on each leg!), went forwards, backwards, and sideways…
He could have also ‘dinosaur stomped’, fairy ‘tip toed’, and walked on his heels…
Apart from the counting practise, it was a perfect exercise for improving balance and coordination, and the ability to organise, sequence and execute smooth, efficient movements (motor planning).
It was also fabulous movement and proprioceptive sensory input – firm touch input, through the joints, strengthening his body awareness, and (hopefully), calming and regulating his central nervous system a little too!
The chalk lasts a few days (weather permitting!), and ‘touching up’ the lines so they remain nice and clear, is great tracing practise.
Hopscotch is fun to play alone, and even more fun with others, where there are natural turn taking, racing, and team art work opportunities too!
To top off a seemingly never-ending list of positives, chalk is also one of those brilliant, compact items you can pop into your handbag, or in a pocket of your child’s backpack to pull out when out and about (even to use on paper at a cafe/restaurant whilst awaiting your order)!
Hopscotch and chalk play really has to be one of the best all time classic play ideas!
Thanks so much for stopping by Kids Play Space!