Ideas for Quality Time

Healthy Families

Disney Family Deals

Chalk It Up

Sidewalk Art - All about chalk and why kids love it

Set your child up with a bucket of chalk and a chunk of virgin sidewalk, and she'll be following in a tradition that can be traced to 16th-century Italy. Back then, itinerant artists known as madonnari wandered from village to village, sketching religious pictures in white chalk and charcoal (often the Madonna, hence the moniker) on sidewalks in front of the village church or town square.

Your child's tableaux may not exactly resemble Renaissance masterpieces, but with as much fervor as those madonnari, she'll cover every inch of blacktop with smiling cats and rainbows. Kids like chalk because it's the king of big honkin' art. "Sidewalk and wall chalkboard surfaces entice kids," says Wendy Yaffe, a longtime children's art teacher in Amherst, Massachusetts. "Here they can draw freely, dramatically, cooperatively, and very, very large."

And just as Navajo sand paintings exist only fleetingly, so too the sidewalk artist's efforts — one good storm and the slate's wiped clean for a brand-new gallery opening.

What is chalk anyway?

That stuff your kids love to scrape all over the driveway? Technically it's not chalk. Real chalk, what's used on chalkboards (see Arielle, above), is formed by the accumulated remains of gazillions of microscopic marine organisms. Outside chalk is actually gypsum, a mineral that crystallizes out of evaporating seawater. Gypsum is also the white filling in construction drywall and a dough conditioner in Twinkies.

empty star empty star empty star empty star empty star Rate This Article
Print
null data...
promoObjectId (null)
promoObject.title ()
promoObject.contentType ()
promoWidth ()
promoHeight ()
promoContainerId (editorialPromo1)
promoCSS (on_travelTips_aggregate)
this displays when the floating stack report is on

CeReality: 5 Families, 5 Stories, 1 Critical Meal

null data...
promoObjectId (null)
promoObject.title ()
promoObject.contentType ()
promoWidth ()
promoHeight ()
promoContainerId (editorialPromo3)
promoCSS (on_travelTips_aggregate)
this displays when the floating stack report is on
null data...
promoObjectId (null)
promoObject.title ()
promoObject.contentType ()
promoWidth ()
promoHeight ()
promoContainerId (editorialPromo4)
promoCSS (on_travelTips_aggregate)
this displays when the floating stack report is on
Please log in ...
Close
You must be logged in to use this feature.

Thank You!

Thank you for helping us maintain a friendly, high quality community at Family.com. This comment will be reviewed by a community moderator.

Flag as Not Acceptable?

We review flagged content and enforce our Terms of Use, in which content must never be:

See full Terms of Use.