It’ll be some time before we can adorn our sidewalks with chalk drawings, but that didn’t stop Toddlers, Twos and Threes Art Group from bringing the best of the playground indoors. Our lil artists set to work on miniature canvases of damp recycled paper, scrawling and smearing their colorful lines across the page. If things got too dry, we had spray bottles and wet paintbrushes ready for use.
Wet chalk drawings are incredibly easy to set up. Spray a sheet of paper (use a paper dense enough to withstand a little dampness) until it’s damp, but not too wet. Then have the child pick out chalk to use on the paper. Once he or she has drawn, encourage them to use their fingers, a wet paintbrush, or another tool to smear the chalk around the page. It’s part chalk drawing and part fingerpainting – sans the paint mess!
You and your kids might be surprised to see how bright the colors turn out once the paper dries. Light colors, especially yellow and white, don’t show up so well when the paper is wet, but once it dries, you’ll see bold, beautiful lines across the page. Mixing the chalk colors works especially well here, and the color blending shows up well on the finished work.
As always, the process is the point of the activity. Wet chalk drawings are abundant in tactile input. Kids can feel the wet paper, then compare it to the dry, dusty chalk. They can watch the colors transform from dry to wet to dry, feeling the wet paper and chalk with their fingertips as they spread it around the page.
For maximum, keep the options for creativity open by varying the size of chalk, the size of paper, the level of dampness, and the other tools that could be used for the process. Geting your kids used to experimenting with different objects in the same project enables them to be more resourceful down the line.
And don’t forget to put plenty of newspaper down on work surfaces. The project isn’t super messy, but it can get really wet!
Toddlers, Twos and Threes Art Group meets every Wednesday at 10 am and is open to all members and visitors (with paid admission to PTLL’s playspace). The group is run by Megan Spak and Elisabeth Moyer.
(This project was inspired by an activity in MaryAnn Kohl’s First Art for Toddlers and Twos)