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August 11, 2013

ABC Eruptions

Prewriting Activity with Erupting Sidewalk Chalk Paint

ABC Eruptions - An exciting prewriting exercise with erupting sidewalk chalk paint.  This is so cool - no vinegar needed!

You probably know by now that I have a slight obsession with sidewalk chalk paint.  It is just so stinking fun!  We make our own sidewalk chalk paint with this simple recipe or this cornstarch free version.  We have also made it scented using squeezy bottles and in a rainbow of colors.  Today I am going to show you have to make eruptions with sidewalk chalk paint!  I combined it with a simple prewriting exercise.  It's been awhile since I have shared some of the fun activities I do with J-Bug (4) for preschool.  Lately he really wants to write.  He is always asking me for "school work" which in his mind translates to worksheets since he sees his big brother writing every day.  Instead of pencil and paper work, I've been coming up with fun prewriting exercises for him to help him write letter correctly and do his strokes in the correct order.  These ABC eruptions are my favorite prewriting exercise yet!

How to Make an Erupting Alphabet

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ABC Eruptions - An exciting prewriting exercise with erupting sidewalk chalk paint!  Build fine motor skills and learn letter strokes while creating cool eruptions.  No vinegar needed!

Directions:  I first saw fizzy sidewalk chalk paint on Kids Activities Blog.  You can read the original recipe there.

I made my own recipe.  I'm not a big fan of the smell of vinegar, and neither are my kids.  We prefer to make our eruptions with Kool Aid.  We've made Kool Aid eruptions at one of our play dates, with paint, and with soap for even bigger, foamier eruptions!

To make the sidewalk chalk paint I mixed 1/2 cup of cornstarch and 1/2 cup of baking soda with 1 cup of water.  The measurements do not need to be exact.  You can see from the letters that each color was slightly different.  The pink ended up being too thick.  I should have added more water.  You want it thin enough to paint easily but thick enough that the paint pops against the sidewalk.

I divided the paint into three containers and added liquid watercolors until I was happy with the colors.  You can easily substitute food coloring or tempura paint for the watercolors, but I find that liquid watercolors produce the most vibrant colors.  Besides, there are so many color choices!

Using foam brushes I painted the alphabet on the ground.  Paint brushes work, too, but I have the best results with foam brushes when it comes to sidewalk chalk paint.

ABC Eruptions - An exciting prewriting exercise with erupting sidewalk chalk paint!  Build fine motor skills and learn letter strokes while creating cool eruptions.  No vinegar necessary in the easy to make recipe!

As I was painting the letters J-Bug named each letter, traced it with his finger and said the sound.  About halfway through he said he didn't want to name them anymore, and that was fine.  I'm of the opinion that early learning should be fun and not forced.  He knows his letters and sounds, and I prefer positive reinforcement activities versus forced drills.

Once all the letters were written I gave him a squeezy bottle to start tracing the letters.  Inside the squeezy bottles were Kool Aid and water.  I dissolved two packets of Kool Aid powder into two cups of water then poured it into the squeezy bottles.  Instead of vinegar, our eruptions smelled like pink lemonade - positively divine!

ABC Eruptions - An exciting prewriting exercise with erupting sidewalk chalk paint!  School work every preschooler will love.  No vinegar needed for this easy to make recipe!

I sat very close to J-Bug and encouraged him to trace each stroke in the proper order.  This activity was intended for fun, but I also want to teach good habits.  He carefully traced each letter and was delighted with the erupting bubbles the tracing produced!  The reaction between the sidewalk chalk paint and the Kool Aid was enough to keep him interested for the whole alphabet.  The added bonus is that squeezy bottles are a great tool for building fine motor skills.

For more cool eruptions follow me on Pinterest.

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Erupting sidewalk chalk paint recipe - no vinegar needed!  Simple recipe for play that kids of all ages will love.

After tracing all the letters, J-Bug used the rest of the paint and asked for a refill on the Kool Aid bottles.  He went to town creating big sidewalk chalk eruptions.  It was so cool.  I had plans to paint sight words for JZ (6) and shapes for my toddler twins, but they were with Daddy while J-Bug and I played.  It was nice to have the one on one time with him, and this recipe is so easy I can whip up another batch another day.

A prewriting exercise your preschooler will never forget - making the alphabet erupt!

More hands on ABC games and activities:


  1. This looks like so much fun and I like the idea of Kool Aid instead of vinegar. I think I have found somewhere to buy Kool Aid from in Australia, yay!

  2. Where do you buy your liquid water colors?

  3. http://www.discountschoolsupply.com/Product/ProductDetail.aspx?product=23156&keyword=liquid%20watercolor%20paint&scategoryid=0&CategorySearch=&Brand=&Price=

  4. Wow.. why on earth does Koolaid + baking soda= explosion?! That's a little scary but so good to know! We don't drink the stuff but I will have to get some for our science experiments! Thanks so much.. we're trying this with vinegar today. Exciting! :)


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