This is one of our favourite activities – exploring chalk and water. It is my “go to” activity when I need something for R to do while I’m making dinner. It’s also a perfect rainy day activity. There’s something relaxing about painting the water on the page and watching the colours of the chalk mixing across the wet page.
Exploring chalk and water is very simple to set up. All you need is some coloured chalk, a jug of water, a paintbrush and some paper. Black paper works well as the vibrant colours of the wet chalk really pop against the black, but white paper would be just as fun. I usually provide R with a mixture of thin chalk and thick sidewalk chalk. The sidewalk chalk creates a wonderful effect on the wet page. More of that in a moment.
This activity is so simple – just paint the page with water, and then draw on the wet page with chalk. These photos were taken several months ago and they show the very first time that R tried this activity. He was four at the time. He really enjoyed painting with the water. He used quite a lot of the water that I had provided and seemed fascinated with the reflective surface.
R spent a long time exploring the way the paper changed after it became saturated with water. It was now shiny, reflective and slippery. He moved the paper around, bending it, folding it and rolling it, moving the water across the surface of the page.
After he had satisfied his curiosity about the wet paper, he chose a piece of chalk and began drawing. He was surprised at the vibrancy and intensity of the chalk colour as it glided across the water.
He also experimented with the large sidewalk chalk by dragging it heavily across the page. This technique produced a wonderful thick paste and led to some wonderful sensory exploration.
There was so much exploration and experimentation with this activity. At one point. R wanted to know what would happen to the chalk pieces if he immersed them in the jug of water. He placed them all into the jug and watched as the water changed colour. He then drew the chalk out again and started to draw with it, wondering if the effect would be any different than when he used dry chalk on a wet page. Chalk and water is a great provocation for questioning, exploring and testing ideas.
R tried using the chalk in many different ways, even rolling it across the page. It is wonderful when an activity like this leads to everyday art materials being used in new ways.
There is so much to love about this activity. It uses everyday items, it is quick to set up, does not create too much mess and it always keeps R engaged for at least half an hour, sometimes even longer. Exploring chalk on water provides a sensory play experience, art and creativity and even science (seeing how the materials change and interact with one another). Just look at those gorgeous colours! So pretty.
Have your kids tried chalk on wet paper before? Did they enjoy it?
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