Chalk Paint Activity

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Updated on Jun 19, 2014

Sometimes all kids need is a simple update to an old toy to make it fun again. If your kid is tired of sidewalk chalk, try this amazing art activity—chalk paint! Chalk paint starts as liquid paint, but dries to a chalky texture after it’s applied to a sidewalk. On a sunny day, make some great art—and start a conversation about states of matter in the process—with this chalk paint project.

What You Need:

  • Cornstarch
  • Cold water
  • ¼ cup measuring cup
  • Plastic cups or containers and spoons
  • Food coloring
  • Old paintbrushes
  • A sidewalk and good weather
  • Optional: Smock or apron

What You Do:

  1. Help your child measure and pour ¼ cup of cold water into a plastic cup or container.
  2. Next, she can measure and pour ¼ cup of cornstarch into the cold water. Have her use a spoon to stir the ingredients together until well mixed.
  3. Let her choose a food coloring and put just one or two drops of it into the liquid mixture. Then she can stir the mixture again until it has all changed to that color.
  4. Food coloring dyes usually come in a pack of four colors. Have her repeat steps 1-3 three more times to create chalk paint in three other colors.
  5. You can also help your child learn about mixing colors. For example, she can add one drop of red plus one drop of blue to another new mixture to create purple chalk paint, or one drop of yellow plus one drop of red dye makes orange. A red drop plus a green drop creates a brown color!
  6. On a clear day, take all the chalk paint outside with old paintbrushes, along with a cup of water to wash the brushes in. Help her find a clear, clean area of sidewalk for painting. She may want to wear a smock or apron to avoid getting the paint on her clothes.
  7. She can dip her paintbrushes in various colors and create a masterpiece! The “paint” goes on like a liquid, but after drying, the cornstarch and color show up to give the painting a chalky look—amazing!
Beth Levin has an M.A. in Curriculum and Education from Columbia University Teachers College. She has written educational activities for Macmillan/McGraw-Hill and Renaissance Learning publishers. She has a substitute teaching credential for grades K-12 in Oregon, where she lives with her husband and two daughters.