Let’s Talk Chalk

I hate sidewalk chalk.

Use your imagination to include an expletive of your choice to color that sentence up there.

This blog started with me trying to think of a fun little list of all the things we love that make our summertime outdoor play fun– our water table turned rice table turned dirt table, bubble wands versus bubble machines, etc.– but you probably already know what your kid likes. And the more I tried to think of fun things, the more I could only focus on what toys I actually hate.

And that’s sidewalk chalk.

Every year, the Easter Bunny brings fresh packs of chalk for my kids’ baskets, and every year, that stupid rabbit is filled with unspeakable regret. I cannot keep myself from cringing when they eagerly ask me to open up the chalk… because this means I have to touch it. Nails on a chalkboard do not compare to the horror that is the actual feel of the chalk itself. Even typing this out is making me shudder.

When I was a kid, my mom hated any toy that was slimy, goopy, or gummy in nature. My sister and I used to love trying to get her to touch something with those qualities. Mom, I’m so sorry. The way my mom hated slime is the way I hate chalk. I don’t want to touch it, I don’t want to hear it, I don’t want to see it scrape against the cement. I don’t want to hand a chalk stick to my kid, and I don’t want to watch them color with it. So far, my kids haven’t figured out my unadulterated disgust, but I dread the day that they do and think it’s funny to chase Mama with chalk.

I mean… look how happy it makes him!

Yet I continue to buy my kids chalk and sit outside in my little lawn chair to watch them scribble and encourage them to draw roads and shapes. Why? Because they love it. It’s another outdoor activity to add to our repertoire, and I’m sure there’s lots of fine motor skills going on. There’s really no reason for me to ban chalk from my kids when I’m the only one who hates it.

Last year, when everyone was making beautiful sidewalk chalk “stained glass” style murals while on lockdown, I caved and made one with my oldest son. I touched the chalk… I colored with it. There was a lot of self-loathing. But I did it. And we all loved the end result.

Remember these masterpieces?

I can’t say I have it in me to get down and dirty with the chalk on a regular basis, but I’ll keep buying it for my kids as long as they keep playing with it. 

“Chalk it up” to me trying to be a good, supportive mom.

So tell me, moms… what’s the toy you cannot stand but keep in stock for your kids? Is it homemade slime? Bubble juice? Play Doh? Are you a chalk-hater like me? Whatever it is, at least we know they’re having fun.


Erica Tran
Erica lives in Kenner with her husband Michael and her three sons, Benjamin, Joshua, and Elijah. After graduating from UL Lafayette with a degree in advertising and landing her dream job, she left her chosen field and now works part time as an administrative assistant for a Catholic retreat movement. She spends the rest of her time at home with her boys, finding lost toys and actively ignoring various messes. In 2019, she self-published her first book, The Sister. There's not a lot of free time between working, reading and writing, and chasing her kids, but in those moments she's usually sprawled on the sofa in casual denial about just how messy her house is.


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