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Fun Summer Activities with Sidewalk Chalk

Updated on July 26, 2011
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Summer... everyone looks forward to it. The kids are out of school, vacations are planned, and the sun has finally come out of hibernation. But no matter how much we look forward to it, boredom comes creeping up on us. Without all the extra work, school, and activities to do, summer can turn into one long hot day in the sun. The kids become glued to their video games, and their parents just want to sit beneath the air conditioning. Boredom and idleness inevitably follow. Don't let the heat get to you; enjoy your summer! No snow, no ice, and no worries... it's time to get outside and savor the beautiful sunshine.

Are you looking for some fun summer activities to do as a family? Perhaps you want to be together, but activities just seem to cost too much. The answer to your dilemma is sidewalk chalk. "That's just for kids," you might say, but think again. Sidewalk chalk is affordable and safe, and anyone can have fun using it! Whether you color the driveway with your family, enter a chalk competition, or participate in a festival (such as the Sidewalk Chalk Flood), sidewalk chalk is a fun way to celebrate the summer.

What Is Sidewalk Chalk?

Sidewalk chalk usually comes in easy-to-hold sticks in all the colors of the rainbow.It is made from a chemical called calcium sulfate, which is also used to make blackboard chalk and plaster of Paris.

Sidewalk Chalk World Records

According to Guinness World Records:

  • Largest chalk painting by one artist was a reproduction of "The Last Supper", measured 34 feet by 17 feet 6 inches, and was created by Tracy Lee Stum in 2006.
  • Largest chalk pavement art was 90,000 square feet, created by over 5,000 children participating in the Kids' Chalk Art Project in California in 2008.
  • Longest chalk pavement art measured 18,372 feet 8 inches long and 6 feet 6 inches wide, created by over 5,000 students in Germany in 2009.
  • Largest display of chalk pavement art was created at the Pasadena Chalk Festival in 2010, being made up of 171 drawings.

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My Story

Once upon a time there was a little girl with terrible bangs, dirty knees, and a love for sidewalk chalk. She loved her chalk so much that she refused to share it with her friends. Chalk only lasts so long after all, and people don't know how to conserve it wisely. Unfortunately, the little girl's hoarding led on to rudeness, selfishness, and a lie. After what seemed like an eternity sitting inside with her guilt, the girl admitted she was wrong, apologized, and strove to share her sidewalk chalk in the future.

Years later, I've rediscovered my love of sidewalk chalk (much to the bewilderment of my friends), realizing that enjoyment of this art form is amplified the more people you do it with.

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Activities for Home

Sidewalk chalk can turn an ordinary afternoon on its head. All you need is time and people to spend it with.

  • Decorate your driveway or sidewalk with colorful artwork and murals.
  • Trace silhouettes of your kids or friends in funny poses.
  • Play hopscotch.
  • Draw a four-square court to play on.

Host a Sidewalk Chalk Party

This is a fun idea for a children's party. Invite your kid's friends over for a sidewalk chalk party in your driveway. Another idea is to make it a community event or block party. Get all your neighbors together and have each one host a different chalk station. For instance, one station could be hopscotch, another could be long jump competitions, and another could be an art gallery. Be sure to provide refreshments such as lemonade and popsicles to cool off with.

Julian Beever, a modern-day Bert
Julian Beever, a modern-day Bert | Source

Street Painting and 3-D Chalk Art

Remember Bert from the movie Mary Poppins? He painted beautiful pictures on the sidewalk that the children could actually jump into. Unfortunately, when the bleak London rain came, Bert had to revert to selling matches instead of art.

People like Bert actually exist. Their drawings might not be portals into a cartoon world where carousels come to life, but they can be truly beautiful and fascinating. It's a shame their art is only temporary. Street painters (also known as chalk artists and screevers) have been at work beautifying the world since the 1500s in Europe. Modern-day professional street painters include Julian Beever, Edgar Mueller, Melanie Stimmell, and Tracy Lee Stum. These professional chalk artists can create paintings and images that appear 3-D. It is amazing what a little chalk can do!

Melanie Stimmell
Melanie Stimmell | Source
sidewalk chalk 3-D art
sidewalk chalk 3-D art | Source

Sidewalk Chalk Flood

Some cities put together sidewalk chalk floods, in which the entire community gets together to literally paint the town. In 2009 and 2010, Rob Bliss (known for his urban experiments) put together a Sidewalk Chalk Flood in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Des Moines, Iowa held a similar event in 2010, and they plan hosting another flood August 20, 2011. Tens of thousands of sticks of chalk are provided free to anyone who wants to join in the fun, and the result is an entire downtown covered in artwork. These are fun family-friendly events, and I think it would be great if more people would put sidewalk chalk floods together.

Sidewalk Chalk Flood in Grand Rapids, MI
Sidewalk Chalk Flood in Grand Rapids, MI | Source

Chalk Art Competitions

A sidewalk chalk competition is another great way to get involved in the community. Even if you don't participate, attending can make for a fun family outing. Check with your local Parks & Recreation Center or search online to check if there's a chalk art competition in your town. Here are a few events coming up this year:

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    • Rose West profile image
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      Rose West 6 years ago from Michigan

      gulnazahmad, thanks for your visit! Chalk really is simple - but the art can be quite complicated. Thanks for the rating!

    • gulnazahmad profile image

      gulnazahmad 6 years ago from Pakistan

      Chalk is the most basic tool to draw and most amazing one too. Loved your hub voted up!!

    • Rose West profile image
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      Rose West 6 years ago from Michigan

      Les Trois Chenes, yes, so true! Everyone can enjoy this - there's no such thing as being bad at chalk drawing :)

    • Rose West profile image
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      Rose West 6 years ago from Michigan

      Jane, thank you :) You are always there to support me (and truth be told, I wouldn't be writing here if it weren't for you). Thanks ever so much for all of your encouragement!

    • Rose West profile image
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      Rose West 6 years ago from Michigan

      kikifish, thank you very much!

    • Rose West profile image
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      Rose West 6 years ago from Michigan

      Thelma Alberts, thanks! No need to travel when it comes to sidewalk chalk - you can have a ton of fun right in your own driveway!

    • Rose West profile image
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      Rose West 6 years ago from Michigan

      kamran210, thank you! It makes me happy :)

    • Rose West profile image
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      Rose West 6 years ago from Michigan

      freecampingaussie, oh yes, some people are very much into sidewalk chalk. (and I think the trend is catching on!)

    • Rose West profile image
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      Rose West 6 years ago from Michigan

      DzyMsLizzy, thank you so much for all the ratings and congratulations! That's too bad you don't have a place to chalk around your home, but it's great that you still enjoy it, though vicariously :) It strikes me as odd when people think sidewalk chalk is defacement - it's not even permanent, and the rain just wipes it away!

    • Rose West profile image
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      Rose West 6 years ago from Michigan

      Ddraigcoch, thanks! Hopefully old favorites become new favorites :)

    • Rose West profile image
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      Rose West 6 years ago from Michigan

      Elizabethvano, they are pretty incredible. Thanks for your visit!

    • Rose West profile image
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      Rose West 6 years ago from Michigan

      streak, I am intrigued. Is this some sort of chalk game I don't know about?

    • Rose West profile image
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      Rose West 6 years ago from Michigan

      Miss Mellie, the chalk festival in Temecula sounds great! I would love to go to something like that sometime. It just goes to show you that age doesn't matter when it comes to creativity and fun.

      But are you serious? Banning chalk? Sounds ridiculous to me. I think your solution is worth trying :)

    • Rose West profile image
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      Rose West 6 years ago from Michigan

      cardelean, don't you just love summertime? Sidewalk chalk is such a good excuse to get the kids out in the sunshine :)

    • Rose West profile image
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      Rose West 6 years ago from Michigan

      J.S.Matthew, I really appreciate the rating - thanks! That's great that you're a fan of sidewalk chalk too :) It's more than just a plaything - it's an art form!

    • Rose West profile image
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      Rose West 6 years ago from Michigan

      FloraBreenRobison, why thank you :) I have had such a great time writing on HubPages!

    • Rose West profile image
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      Rose West 6 years ago from Michigan

      brsmom68, thanks! That's too bad you don't have a whole lot of "canvas" to work on... but eight feet is better than nothing :)

    • Rose West profile image
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      Rose West 6 years ago from Michigan

      joekreydt, thanks for visiting!

    • Les Trois Chenes profile image

      Les Trois Chenes 6 years ago from Videix, Limousin, South West France

      Fabulous drawings! I like this sort of art: open to everyone. Congratulations on Hub of the day.

    • Jane Grey profile image

      Ann Leavitt 6 years ago from Oregon

      Whoot whoot! Hub of the day! This one definitely deserved it; now more people get to read it! Oh, and guess what else-- one more hub and you're at 100! That's not 100 itsy little blurbs, but 100 intelligent, entertaining, and uniquely beautiful pieces of art! Now that is certainly accomplishmentific.

    • kikifish profile image

      kikifish 6 years ago from Honolulu

      nice hub, nice activities, much thanks!

    • Rose West profile image
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      Rose West 6 years ago from Michigan

      applecsmith, thanks so much! I'm glad you enjoyed it! It was great fun writing, but I didn't expect so many people to like it :)

    • Rose West profile image
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      Rose West 6 years ago from Michigan

      sj_workman, so true - sidewalk chalk is so cheap and still tons of fun!

    • Rose West profile image
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      Rose West 6 years ago from Michigan

      ChristinS, maybe if you show them the pictures of the 3D chalk, they might get inspired. Thanks for your visit!

    • Rose West profile image
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      Rose West 6 years ago from Michigan

      workingmom, that's great that you enjoy chalking with your daughter. It's such a fun activity for all ages :)

    • Rose West profile image
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      Rose West 6 years ago from Michigan

      leahlefler, asphalt works just as well! I hope you get to the Pasadena Festival - I'd love to go myself :)

    • Rose West profile image
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      Rose West 6 years ago from Michigan

      happyboomernurse, thank you! I was quite surprised!

    • Rose West profile image
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      Rose West 6 years ago from Michigan

      Dolores, thank you so much for the rating! Every kid should have the chance to have fun with sidewalk chalk - and really it isn't messy at all!

    • Rose West profile image
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      Rose West 6 years ago from Michigan

      Carlon, well, it was a lot of fun to put together!

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 6 years ago from Germany

      Congrats for the hub of the day. It is a great idea for summer vacation at home. Adult and children can both have fun about this creativity. I love the 3D chalk painting. Thanks for sharing.

    • kamran210 profile image

      Kamran 6 years ago from Pakistan

      congrats for being selected as Hub of the day :)

    • freecampingaussie profile image

      freecampingaussie 6 years ago from Southern Spain

      Congratulations on a great hub! I didn't know so many people did that kind of thing anywhere . We used to play hopscopth as kids in New Zealand & that was all.

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 6 years ago from Oakley, CA

      Great fun! Great hub! Congrats on making "Hub of the Day!"

      I've seen some of those awesome 3-D effects art online.

      I used to love to play with chalk, but mostly we made hopscotch squares when I was a kid..not much art.

      Sadly, where I live now is a semi-rural area; no sidewalks and our driveway is gravel.

      Elsewhere in town, folks would not appreciate you drawing on THEIR sidewalks, and downtown, the city fathers would scowl and call it 'defacement.' Delusions of grandeur, they have. ::: sigh :::

      So, I'll just admire others' artworks over the internet.

      Voted up, interesting, awesome & beautiful!

    • Ddraigcoch profile image

      Emma 6 years ago from UK

      Absolutely divine to bring back an old favorite. Congratulations on being hub of the day.

    • Elizabethvano profile image

      Elizabethvano 6 years ago from Carlisle, PA

      OMG those chalk pictures were amazing - great post!

    • streak profile image

      streak 6 years ago

      Did you know there's an outdoor world of math and reading fun that awaits you, and all you need is sidewalk chalk, dice, and your imaginations.

    • Miss Mellie profile image

      M.S. Ross 6 years ago

      There's another such festival in the beautiful wine country of Temecula, California, every June. It's quite astonishing to see simple works created by children and adults intermingled with masterpieces crafted by professional artisans. They all seem to inspire each other, and marvelous creations abound when people let go of where they think their skill levels "should" be and just allow themselves to create, unrestrained...like kids do.

      A sad development that has arisen in numerous planned developments with homeowners' associations is the move to ban chalk drawings on sidewalks throughout their communities. Yes, seriously, this is happening (it happened in the development where we used to live). Each board member of those HOAs should be given a bucket of brightly colored chalk and perhaps a large bottle of loosening libation to help them let go and rediscover the fun of this art.

      Congratulations on earning the Hub of the Day award!!

    • cardelean profile image

      cardelean 6 years ago from Michigan

      Congrats on your hub being selected as the hub of the day! My kids were just outside drawing with chalk. It is such a great way to let your artistic juices flow along with enjoying a summer day. I have always been in awe of those 3D chalk drawings. Nicely done.

    • J.S.Matthew profile image

      JS Matthew 6 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Congratulations on being the Hub of the Day!

      Awesome Hub! I still like drawing on the sidewalk as an adult. I loved the pictures. I have seen some of the artwork that people can do on the street and it is incredible! Thanks for sharing. Voting Up and sharing!

      JSMatthew~

    • FloraBreenRobison profile image

      FloraBreenRobison 6 years ago

      Congratulations on making hub of the day, Rose! I notice you have just one more hub to go before you have published 100 hubs. Congratulations on that too.

    • brsmom68 profile image

      Diane Ziomek 6 years ago from Alberta, Canada

      Sidewalk chalk is fun...when my kids were little they used to decorate the cement steps and driveway. Now we live in the country and have a piece of sidewalk about 8 feet long; not even long enough for Hopscotch. Congratulations on making Hub of the Day!

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      joekreydt 6 years ago

      super fun hub!

    • applecsmith profile image

      Carrie Smith 6 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      Congratulations for being the Hub of the day! This is a great post, you have shared some awesome ideas, not just for young children.

      Having a sidewalk competition sounds really fun! The 3D pictures are crazy in a good way. I had no idea!

      Thanks for sharing.

    • sj_workman79 profile image

      sj_workman79 6 years ago from New Hampshire

      Awesome hub. Everytime my niece is bored I whip out the chalk. She has more fun than if we had taken her to an amusement park and shelled out a bunch of money.

    • ChristinS profile image

      Christin Sander 6 years ago from Midwest

      this is awesome :) I buy it for the kids all the time, but they don't really play with it as much as we'd like... I'll have to show them this hub!

    • workingmomwm profile image

      Mishael Austin Witty 6 years ago from Kentucky, USA

      This is really a great hub. I never fully appreciated sidewalk chalk as a child, but my 2-year-old loves it, and I love drawing with her. It's amazing what some people can do with it. Who knew?

    • leahlefler profile image

      Leah Lefler 6 years ago from Western New York

      Sidewalk chalk is the best! We don't have sidewalks where we live, but we do have an asphalt driveway that gets covered in chalk fairly frequently! We visit California on a fairly frequent basis - we'll have to check out the Pasadena festival (my kids would love it)!

    • Happyboomernurse profile image

      Gail Sobotkin 6 years ago from South Carolina

      Congrats on making Hub of the Day.

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 6 years ago from East Coast, United States

      Voted up! congratulations for being nominated for the Facebook Fan Faves contest. And no wonder - this is a marvelous idea and tons of fun. I remember when my kids were small, how we did up the driveway with chalk. The colors looked so rich on the black-top. I knew some moms who would not let their kids do this - some did not want the 'mess.' Always a few party poopers.

    • Carlon Michelle profile image

      Carlon Michelle 6 years ago from USA

      Funest Hub EVER!

    • Rose West profile image
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      Rose West 6 years ago from Michigan

      WannaB Writer, hopscotch was one of my favorites :) Chalk can be pretty amazing! Thanks so much for taking the time to read!

    • WannaB Writer profile image

      Barbara Radisavljevic 6 years ago from Templeton, CA

      I never dreamed such spectacular art could be drawn with chalk. I'm afraid my own chalk talent was limited to drawing hopscotch squares. Thanks for writing this, and congrats on making it to the top 14 this week.

    • Rose West profile image
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      Rose West 6 years ago from Michigan

      akirchner, thanks so much!! It's very exciting! There have been lots of cool hubs lately - I'm looking forward to reading the other selections as well.

    • Rose West profile image
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      Rose West 6 years ago from Michigan

      Nell, thanks for coming by! Summertime = Sidewalk chalk (and it's not just for kids ;)

    • Rose West profile image
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      Rose West 6 years ago from Michigan

      Happyboomernurse, I know - never in all my years with sidewalk chalk have I created anything like those 3-D drawings! But it's the fun factor that counts :)Thanks for your visit - I really appreciate your rating!

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon

      That's kinda cool - I miss the days when my kids chalked up everything! Congrats on making it to the Fab 14 and good luck to you!!

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 6 years ago from England

      Hi, Rose now I can feel the child in me emerge! lol I remember doing this as a child, and have seen a few of the paintings by the artists before, but what a great idea for summer, cheers nell

    • Happyboomernurse profile image

      Gail Sobotkin 6 years ago from South Carolina

      Awesome hub and the 3-D photos were amazing. My friends and I loved playing with side walk chalk as children. However, we had little artistic talent and I never saw creations like the ones you have here. Thanks for sharing this info. Voted up, useful, awesome, beautiful and unique.

    • Rose West profile image
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      Rose West 6 years ago from Michigan

      Danette, thanks for coming by! I can't imagine how to even start a 3-D chalk art design - the artists are very skilled!

    • Rose West profile image
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      Rose West 6 years ago from Michigan

      Denise, so happy this brought back good memories for you! That is rather sad that sidewalk chalk can be viewed as "messing things up" - when chalk turns a slap of pavement into a work of art, plus kids have so much fun with it. Thank you so much for the rating!

    • Rose West profile image
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      Rose West 6 years ago from Michigan

      AliciaC, thanks for your visit! It's so impressive how these artists can envision the art on just a boring piece of sidewalk!

    • Rose West profile image
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      Rose West 6 years ago from Michigan

      K9keystrokes, so glad you liked it! Aren't those records impressive? I can only imagine how cool they must have looked!

    • Danette Watt profile image

      Danette Watt 6 years ago from Illinois

      Nice hub and I agree with the several others who have commented on those amazing 3D sidewalk pictures.

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina

      Absolutely great hub, Rose. A nice addition to the summer series. My goodness...it sure brought back memories. We were lucky at our house-it was to be played in and out of. Our friends fathers refused to allow chalk to 'mess' up the sidewalk in front of their homes. Sad. I have a ball doing chalk art with my grandkids.

      Mary Poppins-that was one great scene with the paintings coming to life...as spectacular as the 3D artwork! Thanks for sharing this lovely hub. Rated interesting and awesome.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      The 3D chalk art video is wonderful! The optical illusions in the pictures are absolutely amazing. Thanks for an interesting and enjoyable hub.

    • K9keystrokes profile image

      India Arnold 6 years ago from Northern, California

      Really amazing stuff! There is some very awesome 3D chalk art. Your section on the record making chalk art was incredible. enjoyed this hub a great deal.

      Cheers~

      K9

    • Rose West profile image
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      Rose West 6 years ago from Michigan

      Just Ask Susan, the 3D chalk art really is incredible! I would love to see some in person.

    • Rose West profile image
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      Rose West 6 years ago from Michigan

      Simone, it really is surprising how much happiness can be found in a stick of colored chalk :) It's like coloring the world (and you don't have to stay in the lines)!

    • Rose West profile image
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      Rose West 6 years ago from Michigan

      Jane, I'm a little in love with Bert myself! It was so depressing when the rain made him stop the magic.

    • Rose West profile image
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      Rose West 6 years ago from Michigan

      FloraBreenRobison, I love hopscotch! But no one wants to play with me anymore :(

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I just love those 3D drawings they are so amazing. I used to love to draw with chalk as a child.

      Great hub!

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 6 years ago from San Francisco

      Oh, now *I* am feeling old sidewalk chalk obsessions kindling! I'm crazy about the amazing 3-D sidewalk chalk pieces that folks are churning out, and I'm also super happy whenever I see even the faintest doodle on the street or sidewalk. I'm really glad that chalk is making such a comeback (at least, I think it is!). Reading this made my morning!!! Yay!

    • Jane Grey profile image

      Ann Leavitt 6 years ago from Oregon

      I always liked Bert's magical art that made dreary London a carnival! His personality was that way too... :)

      Some of those modern 3D chalk drawings are amazing; I had no idea that anyone did that sort of a thing!

    • FloraBreenRobison profile image

      FloraBreenRobison 6 years ago

      And so necessary for hopscotch