Thursday, November 26, 2015

Our DIY outdoor chalkboard

Today’s entry is not so much a post as it is just a way to showcase the latest addition to our outdoor play area…

Our new mega sized outdoor chalkboard!

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It started out when I was cracking my head to think of a project for my sustainability practices assignment. (As some of you know, I am currently back at ‘school’ studying Early Childhood Education as part of my big venture into setting up my family day care). One of the projects in the assignment was to create an outdoor play space made from recycled materials.

Thanks to the labour of love from my dearest hubby…

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And my ‘expert’ painting skills…

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We converted an unused wooden door (we happened to have sitting around in our garage gathering dust) into this fantastic new play space in our outdoor area…

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The children absolutely loved it!

They were so excited to see it when they headed outside the first day after it was set up. And I had half the morning ticking away smoothly with all very busy and fully engaged children, drawing, doodling, and scribbling away to their hearts’ content.

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And I love it too because I can breathe easily while I let the children loose with the chalk. No more worrying about cleaning up the chalk dust afterwards or cringing over broken up pieces of chalk that get scattered about or trampled and crushed on the floor.

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Here is my super simple tutorial for making the chalkboard which I extracted straight out of my assignment to share with you here…

How to make an outdoor chalkboard from a wooden door

Materials
Old or used wooden door
Measuring tape, pencil, saw
Sandpaper
Chalkboard paint
Paint roller
Tarp/old sheet or newspapers
Brackets or anchors
Drill and screws

Instructions
Step 1 - Saw and cut down door to fit area
Measure door according to size of wall area and saw to trim off excess wood to fit.
If your door is hollow, you will need to cover the open end with a piece of wood to ‘close it up’. You can use a strip plywood or any wooden piece trimmed to fit. Secure it on with wood glue and/or nails and fill in any gaps with wood-filler.

Step 2 - Paint door with chalkboard paint
Smoothen and rough spots with sandpaper. Wash and clean door thoroughly with water and allow to dry completely. Place tarp/sheet or newspapers on floor. Use paint roller to paint two coats of chalkboard paint. Allow to dry between each coat.
You can buy chalkboard paint online or from most large craft/DIY shops. Otherwise you can make your own by mixing one cup of paint with two tablespoons of non-sanded tile grout. I used exterior house paint to make the chalkboard weatherproof for outdoor use.

Step 3 - Position and hang chalkboard
Mark anchor points for hanging chalkboard on wall. Drill anchor points and attach brackets or anchors with screws. Position and hang chalkboard in place.
Hubby drilled on galvanised ‘L’ shape brackets near each corner of the door to mount it up on the wall. He also added a couple of bricks underneath for additional support.

Apart from just drawing or doodling on the chalkboard with chalk, here are a few other ‘play’ ideas you can try with your outdoor chalkboard…

  • Use chalkboard for story telling in outdoor area
  • Play drawing games using chalkboard (e.g. knots and crosses, ‘Win, Lose or Draw’ or ‘Guess what I’m drawing’ game, ‘Copy my drawing’ game)
  • Mix leftover chalk pieces with water to make ‘chalk paint’ for children to explore and experiment with on the chalkboard
  • Give children spray bottles and rags to ‘clean’ the chalkboard with
  • Let children try ‘painting’ with water and paintbrushes on the chalkboard

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Here are a couple of links I found helpful for this DIY chalkboard project…

 

>> More learning and play ideas here

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