Sidewalk Chalk Alphabet Game.

When I saw our five-year-old and his summer nanny playing this clever little game I figured it was a Pinterest find, but I was totally wrong! She and my son had invented it themselves after playing a game of hopscotch and wanting to use letters instead of numbers. (Can we talk about hitting the nanny jackpot for a second?)

It's such a simple but really clever little game. The "board" is created (step by step instructions and tips a bit later in the post), then the kiddo hops from circle to circle in alphabetical order. To keep the game going even longer, Hugo was being timed each time he went across the board to see if he would get faster the more he played (which he did, of course, and that's very exciting for a competitive 5 year old!)

The game, to me, feels totally perfect for a child who is starting to recognize letters up to early reading. (Please keep in mind I'm not an educator and have no training in how kids learn, so this is based only on my experience as a mom. Also, it's just a game, so it's not intended to really teach the kids, just a way to keep them busy. Total bonus if they learn the alphabet by playing!)

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Draw 26 circles onto the sidewalk with chalk.

  • Vary the sizes, but keep them pretty close together and big enough so that a pair of kid-sized feet can fit onto them.

2. Put a letter of the alphabet in each circle.

  • Kid or grown-up can do this, whichever you prefer.
  • Keep the letters at the beginning of the alphabet clustered, the middle clustered and the end clustered. Consider that the kiddos will be hopping from one to the next so the "A" shouldn't be too far from the "B" and so on!
  • Letters can be all caps, all lowercase or a combination, depending on where the child is in learning the written alphabet.

3. Draw a "Starting Line" right in front of the "A."

4. Draw a "Finish Line" just past the "Z."

 5. Once the board is created, ask the child to start behind the starting line and give him the instructions for the game: Hop to each letter on the board as you say it out loud while reciting the alphabet.

  • Perhaps the first time through is called a practice round to get them used to the game.
  • If the child enjoys being timed doing things, introduce that to her. See if they get faster after each round.
  • Perhaps it's fun to try to spell other words, like their name or sibling's names or even basic words that are being learned in school.
  • The grown-up can also call out random letters for the kiddo to run to find.

Wearing a bike helmet is optional. :)

Will you try this at home? Our 2-year-old isn't quite ready for it, but he was able to jump to the first letter of his own name! I think Hugo, our 5 year old, spent over 15 minutes playing and was bummed when the board washed away after a few days.

Enjoy! And let me know if this game works for your kids.