An outdoor chalkboard is another project I have had on my to-do list for a while. I love the idea of children having lots of writing and drawing opportunities outdoors. I often find that writing naturally flows outside without the pressure of a classroom environment or the constraints of A4 paper. Chalk is inviting too, because of its non-permanent nature and its accessibility for little hands. (In fact, Mr 2 drew his first “people” pictures on the chalk board! See bottom left picture.)
Since adding basket storage to our fences, I have seen the potential in using fences to enhance the playspace rather than merely marking the garden’s boundaries. So, we attached the large blackboard directly to the fence! I also made a couple of extra smaller blackboards which can be moved around and used as needed. One is a menu board in the dirt kitchen, the other is waiting for playful inspiration…
Purchasing large chalk boards can be expensive. Making them yourself isn’t! We bought marine ply for our boards so that they would withstand the outdoor conditions. The cost was less than $15. We then gave the plywood two coats of chalkboard paint. The paint was under $20 and we still have a LOT left over for future projects.
Oh, and an old teacher-tip for you: to make chalk drawings semi-permanent, soak the chalk in a strong solution of sugar and water before using. I drew the leaves in a corner of the large board, and the word Menu on one of the smaller boards in sugar-soaked chalk. The kids can rub over them, and they won’t rub off! This trick lasts a long time inside, but a good soaking rain will still wash it away outside. (We used to do this to draw the blue-and-white handwriting lines on the classroom blackboards to save ruling them up every day).
What do you think? Anyone else want to try this easy project?