The sun is shining and the perfect time to head outside for some movement and fun. An easy tool for a wide variety of activities is sidewalk chalk. The best part about sidewalk chalk is you can get giant pails filled with them during the summer months for a bargain. While working on specific skill goal, you will also be adding in gross motor work which is beneficial to most students.
Hop To It
Draw a group of shapes around an area. Leave space inside of them to put a number, letter, or some words. Kids will hop from shape to shape based on the directions that you provide.
- If you are working on letter sounds, each shape will have a different letter inside. Say a word and have kids run, jump, or hop to the space with that start sound. To mix it up, you can also do end sounds, blends, or rhyming words.
- Perhaps you need to practice some math fact fluency. Numbers inside the circle will be the answer to a problem you yell out to the group. When you say 1+ 3 equals, the kids will head to the space with a 4.
- For gross motor practice, make every space a different color. Give a clue to get to a space. Once there, there will be directions on what to do. Perhaps a purple diamond will tell the kids to skip four times or hop ten times on their left foot.
The sky is the limit and older kids may also enjoy a team scavenger hunt where they have to draw with chalk as they solve clues. This is a great option for those working on social skills and confidence building.
The Train Game
If you have a long space, a chalk train will be a lot of fun to work on building vocabulary use. Think of different topics that will challenge kids to work together and go from A to Z on the train. Start on A and give the kids a topic. Perhaps you will go with “summer fun.” Say and then move to the next square and continue. When that person is stuck and cannot think of something, a new person jumps into play. For recall practice, they can start over and recall everything they said from A to Z. Another way to twist this game is to make laminated cards with each letter of the alphabet. Kids will randomly pick a card and hop from one letter to the next as they are drawn.
Working on Balance and Coordination
Simple chalk lines in an open area can provide an imaginary high wire act for the kids to practice on. Imagine you are up in the air balancing along the chalk lines. Kids can practice balancing. Step it up a bit and ask them to bounce a basketball as they go This will add in a hand-eye coordination piece. Another option is to make a four-square court with the chalk and play the game. This is a great way to get kids moving and challenge their balance and hand-eye coordination.
Therapists can also give each child some chalk in a bag to take home. With the chalk, include some games that they can play and practice at home. Be sure to have translations for any multilingual families to be able to participate.