Interactive Sidewalk Chalk

This is my last “chalk” post for a while. I promise.

Sidewalk chalk can be a fun way to capture attention… especially for the little readers who visit your store. But if you can find a way to make customers part of the art scene, it’s even better.

Michael Kline is an illustrator who happens to live in my hometown. (One of his more recent projects was the 4-book series The Doodles of Sam Dibble.) He is often asked to doodle on sidewalks around town, like for kids events at our botanical gardens or at our chalk art festival. But rather than just create chalk art to be admired, Kline tries to find a different perspective. “I find a way to engage the kids,” he says. “That’s when the magic happens.”

At our last Chalk Art Festival, Kline set a lofty scene, with balloons lifting folks high above mountain tops. He took photos from a parking garage balcony, but a sturdy ladder could serve the same purpose. I’ve included a variety of shots below.

Kline also likes to let the kids draw around his creations. “Parents are always telling their kids, ‘Don’t touch that!'” he says. “So I tell them, ‘I don’t care. It’s probably going to rain in 10 minutes.'”

You might not want to do interactive sidewalk chalk every time you host storytime, but for a sidewalk sale or a neighborhood festival, it could be really fun.

For this year’s Chalk Art Festival, Kline plans to draw a huge pterodactyl, with participants “hanging” from its claws. And if he can talk his wife into his next project, he plans to paint Volkswagon Beetle white and call it The Doodlebug, allowing kids to write and draw on it with dry erase markers. “I just really want to see the kids interact with art,” he says.

You can find ideas for interactive sidewalk chalk scenes by googling “interactive sidewalk chalk.” And you can find out more about Michael Kline’s art at his website: dogfoose.com.

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Beth Golay

Beth is a reader, writer, marketer and Books & Whatnot founder. Even though she knows better, she’s a sucker for a good book cover and will positively swoon if a book is set in appropriate type.

@BethGolay