Nonfiction Wednesday – April 6, 2016

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge 2016 is a weekly celebration of imaginative children’s nonfiction materials hosted by Kid Lit Frenzy.

Title: Chalk on the Wild Side
Author: Lorie King Kaehler

My Two Cents:  Chalk. You use it to write on the blackboard or play hopscotch (is that still a thing kids do?). According to Kaehler, though, that’s just the beginning. Chalk is a cheap and easy way to get kids excited about art and creativity, and the author shares 25+ ideas for using chalk in new and different ways.


What I enjoyed most about this book were Kaehler’s recipes for making different kinds of chalk, including scented chalk, chalk spray (which apparently works great on snow, perfect for those of you back East….), color-changing sizzle paint, and scented chalk ice pops for hot summer days. The directions are simple and easy to follow, and the ingredients are generally inexpensive and easy to source.


For schools, libraries and other organizations trying to get the most bang for their programming buck, these art activities would definitely be worth a look. The recipes for true chalk involve plaster of paris, which requires careful adult supervision while handling, making them better suited for programs with older children. Still, several of the recipes call for safe, non-toxic ingredients like vinegar and food coloring, and younger children could easily be involved in making these kinds of outdoor paints.

The warmer days of spring and summer will come again some day, so why not try getting the kids making some art outside? Following recipes helps kids learn to follow directions, measurements are great math practice, you can mix colours together to create new ones, and there are so many great picture books about art that you can use to tie it all together. Because as we all know, some of the best learning opportunities are the messiest.