One of the rites of childhood is sprawling out on the sidewalk with a bucket of chalk and making art for all the world to see.

These temporary creations can be detailed masterpieces, and adults and kids can experience chalk art at its finest at YorkArts' annual ChalkWalk competition in downtown York on Saturday, Aug. 25.

Before checking out that event, parents should consider letting kids stretch their creative muscles by giving them a chance to make their own chalk art.

With that in mind, offers a few chalk art tips:

++ Before you start drawing, sweep any pebbles and debris off your work area. Aside from giving you a clean canvas, this will help you stay comfortable while you're lying there.

++ Expect to wear your chalk sticks down to nubs, so have plenty on hand. Depending on how rough the surface is, a stick can wear down in seconds.

++ You don't have to draw a picture. Consider making a chalk-art game such as hopscotch, an obstacle course or a dance pattern.

++ Color your creation in layers. The colors farthest in the background should be chalked first.

++ Always use white chalk last, because it will pick up the color from other chalks.

++ Try soaking a few chalk sticks in water for thicker color. When you do this, the chalk can be applied like paint, which lets you blend colors a little better.

++ Get chalk to fill the cracks and crevices of sidewalks by rubbing it in with your hand after you apply the chalk stick.


++ Pick a nice day to play on the sidewalk. If it's too hot or too cold or too wet, it won't be any fun. You want to be comfortable while being creative.

++ Make sure your chalk art stays on your property. A grouchy neighbor might not want their sidewalks dusted up with a rainbow of colors.

++ Gather up a bunch of objects to use as shape stencils: a Frisbee, some cups, a safety cone, old shoes, a yard stick. These will all help artists make fancier designs.

++ If you don't like something you've drawn, get a wet rag and wipe it away. As soon as the sidewalk dries, you can start over.

For a slew of videos about chalk art and games, visit and search the word "chalk."