Tips For How To Make Outdoor Recess Games With Spray Chalk

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tips for how to make outdoor recess games with spray chalk

Kids are back in the building!

In most districts across the country, kids have gone back to school. Teachers, who spent the summer months wondering what the new school year was going to look like - whether in person, online, hybrid, etc. - have been left scrambling to entertain their students during recess. Don't fret - we have the solution!!

One of the easiest ways you can make fun, stimulating, and cheap outdoor recess games for your kiddos this fall is with spray chalk.

What Is Spray Chalk?

In a previous blog post, we wrote about the different kinds of spray chalk and how it compares to liquid paint. But what exactly is spray chalk?

According to Testors, a leading supplier of paint spray chalk, spray chalk is exactly what it sounds like: chalk that can be sprayed onto surfaces like asphalt, grass, turf, cured concrete, snow, etc. The Testors-brand chalk can last for up to seven (7) days and also washes away in the rain, making clean-up easy and safe. Spray chalk is also relatively affordable, ranging from $12 per can on the high-end to $5.50 per can on the low - great for schools on a budget (which, let's face it - most are!)

Besides can-based chalks, some clever folks figured out how to make DIY spray chalk at home using simple supplies like corn starch or baking soda.

Why Spray Chalk Instead of Liquid Paint?

boy playing on a daisy hopscotch spray painted onto the sidewalk

- Spray chalked recess games can be a great option if you're looking to create a temporary activity, like a hopscotch or four square/box ball court, during a field day or recess.

- Spray chalk is also a good option if your school's budget won't allow for a larger, more permanent project, which liquid paint would be better for.

- Spray chalk is a great option if you're looking to visualize what a larger project would look like on a given space - simply add water and watch the chalk wash away!

Other than those three examples, there isn't much of a reason to choose spray chalk over liquid paint.

Making Recess Games With Spray Chalk

1. Pick A Type Of Spray Chalk

Picking a type of spray chalk is either the first or second step you should take when looking to create games with spray chalk. As we mentioned, different spray chalks are available for different tasks. Some, like Montana Spray Chalk, are semi-permanent and require a power washer to remove if you don't want to wait for a few months for it to fade. Others, like Testors or Chalk It All, can be easily washed away with a hose. Decide how long you'd like your game to last and then pick a brand.

2. Pick A Space For The Game

The right space for your recess game can make all the difference. Some questions to consider might be whether you'd like to spray the game onto an asphalt blacktop area, a grass field, mulch or soil, sand, etc., since surface area will either expand or narrow what types of spray chalk you can use. For instance, if you're looking to create a soccer field that will last for months, Montana Chalk Spray might be a better option - whereas, if you want to make a quick hopscotch for your students to use during recess, you can probably get away with simple stick chalk.

using sidewalk chalk art for recess games

Making recess games with spray chalk can range in difficulty and how much time is required to paint, so there are some simple steps to follow that we don't really need to go into too much detail about. For example, be sure to read all the instructions on your spray chalk can once you've selected the type of spray chalk you want to use. This includes determining if it's safe to spray without proper ventilation, or if you need a mask, gloves, or eye protection before starting your project. Always consult the manufacturer's specific instructions before use.

3. Check The Weather

Check the weather!! Depending on your neck of the woods, fall can be either very stable or very unstable. Be sure to check the weather forecast before you decide to start spraying your game, as your specific spray chalk may need a period of time to dry - especially semi-permanent sprays. 

Checking the weather might seem obvious, but with all the other parts of your project going on, the simple stuff sometimes slips beneath the cracks!

4. Utilize Recess & Playground Zoning!

We created a blog post, as well as our Recess Resource Center, to discuss the importance of recess and playground zoning and how using those strategies can increase physical activity at recess by 10% or more. Please check out those specific links to learn in-depth why zoning your playground is key when including more than a few games.

The short of it: zone that playground because it really does make a difference!

5. Basic Painting Tips

Last but not least, be sure to use proper painting habits like using long brush strokes, multiple coats, mixing paint with primer as needed, and using correct preparation techniques as the directions on the specific spray paint cans call for.

A Few Ideas Worth Noting

boy using a warrior pose yoga pose on the sidewalk

Outdoor Chalkboard Activity via DIY Network

Most kids love to doodle on the chalk board, but what about an outdoor version? Let your kiddos soak up the sun while flexing that creative muscle with this awesome outdoor chalkboard activity by the DIY Network!

Homemade Sidewalk Chalk Paint Recipe via Burlap and Blue

Sidewalk chalk art can be fun, but how much more fun could it be if you made your own sidewalk chalk paint?! Burlap and Blue offers a homemade sidewalk chalk paint recipe that's safe and child-friendly right on their website!

Color Changing Sidewalk Chalk via Fun Family Crafts

Want to surprise the kiddos at recess? Why not keep color changing sidewalk chalk a secret - until it changes colors, that is! Family Fun Crafts has a great video showing step-by-step how to create fun, color-changing sidewalk chalk.

Fun DIY Sidewalk Chalk Projects via Juggling Mama

One sidewalk chalk activity is fun, but how about dozens? Juggling Mama provides dozens of fun sidewalk chalk projects you can try with your kiddos this year!! If you're using spray chalk, all you have to do is slightly modify the application.

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