Top Summer Reading Games Using Chalk — Part 1

I am a mother of two young girls. I write articles with original ideas on encouraging and supporting your kids as they learn to read.

Summer is a good time to relax and have fun, but it is also a period when children can easily forget chunks of what they learned during the school year. So, how can we integrate playing, learning together, and having a wonderful summer break?

To keep it cheap and cheerful, here are three ideas around one creative tool: Chalk.

Chalk Alphabet Hopscotch

How to play

Here are three variants for this game depending on your child’s reading level (and balance!):

Hopscotch Snake Grid with the Letters of the Alphabet

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Hopscotch Snake Grid — Source: Shutterstock
  1. Draw each letter of the Alphabet in order inside the squares.
  2. Have your child throw a stone onto the first letter of the hopscotch snake.
  3. Once your child manages to land the stone on the right letter, let your child hop on that letter with 1 foot. Have them shout out the letter (A/ah!) as they land. Then they must keep their balance while throwing the stone onto the next letter (for younger kids using both feet may be a bit easier).
  4. You can vary this game by introducing rules such as if they put their other foot down or step out of the box or on the lines they need to go back to two spaces.

Hopscotch Singing the ABC Song

Using the alphabet snake grid as above, this time, have your child jump from one letter to the next while you and your child sing the ABC song. You can adjust the speed and the tone of the voice to make it more fun.

Hopscotch Singing the ABC Song with Choices (Inspired from Raising Dragons)

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My 2-year old playing the Hopscotch Singing the ABC Song with Choices — Source: Author
  1. Draw a traditional hopscotch grid but instead of using numbers use letters as follows:
  2. Draw the letter A.
  3. Above the A, draw the letter B and an additional ‘out of order’ letter next to B (like M). Your child will need to choose to jump to the correct letter.
  4. Continue the grid with more letters.
  5. Have your child jump from one letter to another while you and your child sing the ABC song or while playing traditional hopscotch by throwing the stone to land on the right letter.
  6. For older children, you can add complexity like drawing letters in random order or so children will have to hop backward.

My personal experience

My girls loved it when they had to jump super fast as I was singing the ABC song really fast. My 6-year old daughter enjoyed it and even our 12-year old neighbor loved playing too!

Why I like this idea

  • It is simple, fun, unconventional.
  • It burns calories outside while developing hopping and balance skills.
  • Older children can help write the letters for writing practice.

Chalk Abstract Art

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Sidewalk chalk abstract art preparation — Source: The author

What you need

  • Chalk
  • Masking/painting tape

How to play

  1. Brainstorm what your child would like to write e.g. “Have a great day”, “Happy Summer 2020”, “I graduated Kindergarten”.
  2. Create a frame for the artwork with painting tape. Have your child help you.
  3. Cut pieces of painting tape to tape out the letters, then the words. Have your child help as appropriate.
  4. Add long strips of painting tape across the frame (to reveal the abstract nature of the work of art). Have your child help you.
  5. Using chalk, have your child color inside the different regions you created with the tape.
  6. Remove the tape to reveal your abstract art piece.
  7. Enjoy the result.

My personal experience

We used this idea to wish a happy Mother’s Day to all the mums in our neighborhoods. We had a lot of neighbors commenting on our art and starting to talk to us.

Why I like this idea

  • It combines art, writing skills, and playing outside.
  • It teaches some concepts of abstract art and encourages the love of art.
  • It improves fine motor skills.

Chalk & Water Gun Monster Hunt

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My 2-year old, Zoe, shooting the first letter of her name — Source: Claire Blitz (with authorization)

How to play

  1. Draw an alphabet grid.
  2. Play the Letter Monster Hunt described in this blog post. Make glasses with your hands around your eyes and say: “I’m the letter (or word) monster! With my monster eyes, I can see an “A” (or the word XXX). Can you see it too?”
  3. Using a water gun, have your child shoot the letter(s) they found!

If you don’t have a water gun, let them hop on the letters.

My personal experience

Both girls love the combination of chalk and the water gun. To everyone’s delight, it turned into a water gun battle.

Why I like this idea

  • It is a simple but fun and original outdoor activity.
  • It is a homeschooling game.
  • It starts with the child’s name and easily evolves with the child’s reading level.

What are your favorite chalk activities?

If you want more ideas on how to teach your child how to read, feel free to follow us on Facebook.com/mylibook.

About the author: I am a mother of two girls. I had dyslexia and struggled to learn how to read. My older daughter was considered a “slow learner” at the age of three, so I transferred her to a Montessori school and started to gather ideas and tools to help her at home. A year later, my daughter read her first 12-page easy-to-read — or CVC (Consonant Vowel Consonant) — book before turning four and a half years old. I am using this experience to launch MyLibook, an inspiring, personalized, easy-to-read book series.

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