homemade sidewalk chalk

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Our sidewalk chalk doesn't last too long.  Left out in the rain we find colorful crumbs of chalk the next morning, chalk broken in halves are scattered on every piece of pavement within 50 feet of our house...

I discovered a recipe for making your own sidewalk chalk in this creative book, Sidewalk Chalk: Outdoor Fun and Games.  The book in and of itself introduced us to tons of new uses for chalk, like designing your own city and chalk toss (like darts but using a beanbag instead).  There was something in the idea of creating our own chalk and involving my children in the process that convinced me to buy the largest tub of Plaster of Paris I could find-definitely a first.

I loved the whole experience of making a medium so much I think this will be a summer tradition, in preparing for summer's hot days spent under the sun, seated on the asphalt.

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Ingredients to make your own:

3/4 c. warm water

Toilet paper roll

1 1/2 c. Plaster of Paris (found at a craft store)

3-4 TBSP of assorted powered tempera paints (found at a craft store)

Large plastis mixing bowl

Duct tape

Wax paper

A fork

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  1. Cover one end of each toilet paper roll with duct tape.  Place a loosely rolled piece of wax paper inside the tube to create a liner.  This will keep the plaster from sticking to the insides of the rolls.

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2. Pour the water into the bowl. Sprinkle the plaster into the water.  Stir thoroughly.

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3. Mix 3-4 TBSP of the powered paint.  The consistency should be like mashed potatoes.

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4. Place rolls, sealed end down, on a flat surface.  Pour (rather spoon) the plaster mixture and tap sides with a fork to release any air bubbles.

Store the rolls in a safe place for 1-2 days, when totally hard.  This recipe should make 2 very chunky pieces of chalk.  I love the thickness so much better than store bought chalk.

Peel off the mold and get outside!  For older children, here's the science behind the reaction of the plaster and water and how a piece of sidewalk chalk is born.

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{recipe adapted from Sidewalk Chalk: Outdoor Fun and Games}

My young girls were totally amazed by the whole process. They were quick to make and we only waited one day until the rolls were torn open to see what we had created.  Now the chalk is special to them.  I'm still working on them not being left in the rain--I'm a little obsessed about our two chunky, yellow babes.  They soon will be getting their own drawstring bag to calm my nerves.

the sleepy time gal