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Outdoor chalkboard activities
June 16, 2012 9:15 PM   Subscribe

What are some fun, interactive things to paint on a boring back fence?

I am aiming for an awesome and interactive back yard for the kids (2, 5, 7) and want to make my boring back fence more interesting. I was planning on painting some of the white panels with colored blackboard paint, leaving some as just the chalkboard surface, but adding some activities to some others by painting with white paint. For instance painting a target for throwing things at (wet sponges, mud, balls), a noughts-and-crosses grid, some dots for the dot-game, maybe a heading for the mud pie kitchen menu of the day. What are some other ideas that would look cool and spur more fun?
posted by slightlybewildered to Home & Garden (20 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
Mad Libs with a family theme
A variety of silly hats, crowns, etc. to crouch under so it looks like you're wearing them
Pin the tail on the donkey
posted by c'mon sea legs at 9:30 PM on June 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


A map, with plenty of room for adding in trees, houses, parks, cars, pets, neighbors, etc. with chalk.
posted by Sara C. at 9:46 PM on June 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Paint a playhouse and line out a square on the ground in front with lumber or bricks. Or maybe instead of a playhouse, the cockpit of a spaceship with stars and planets and painted on consoles. When they land, they can moonwalk around the yard and meet aliens and collect rock and leaf samples to analyze.
posted by elizeh at 10:34 PM on June 16, 2012


(My friends are dorks. I frequently have to rearrange the crude poetry they make out of my kid's letter magnets. That is why I assume that there will be offensive bits, not that your kids of crude.)
posted by Seamus at 10:40 PM on June 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Eyes!!! All sorts of different eyes! In glow-in-the-dark paint of course.
posted by meepmeow at 11:31 PM on June 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


First of all, a hyperrealistic trompe l'oeil to make it look like you live on a Caribbean beach or in an Amazon rainforest. Admittedly this will probably fascinate visiting children more than the resident ones after a while.

Then you can add targets etc onto that.
posted by oliverburkeman at 2:15 AM on June 17, 2012


Even better would be the trompe l'oeil painting that made it look like the fence wasn't even there. similar grass, trees, make the whole middle fence sections disappear. Not really interactive, but maybe you could find ways to put something like that into the landscape... a shed, an animal or two that the kids could draw spots on, etc. (might be possible considering you can make chalkboard paint in many colors).
posted by belau at 5:46 AM on June 17, 2012


A zoo cage with a sign that says "Wild Beast" or "Amazing Animal" above it, and they can draw different fantastic creatures in the cage with the chalk.
posted by Greg Nog at 6:05 AM on June 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Picture frames? (Or mount weather-proofed real ones?)

Blank faces
to fill in?

Word and thought bubbles?

The image of light at the end of a tunnel?

Theatre curtains?
posted by peagood at 6:54 AM on June 17, 2012


If you are feeling really adventurous, I would've LOVED to grow up in a backyard with a scene from Where the Wild Things Are (my favorite book...maybe theirs would be more appropriate) painted on the fence...monsters, enchanted forests, it would've made imagination time in the back yard so much better.
posted by Rodrigo Lamaitre at 7:17 AM on June 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Paint a really fancy door so the kids can imagine all the different places it can lead . . . as kids we were fascinated by a painted over window in a friend's house. We spent hours imagining why it was painted over and what it was hiding. (years later we found out that my friend's mom painted it over because the people next door weren't married and she didn't want her children to view the sinfulness & get ideas)
posted by jaimystery at 7:18 AM on June 17, 2012


How about letting your kids paint a panel or 2? Buy a selection of paint sample pots and let them draw their own mural/

Traditional in Australia is a cricket stumps painted on a wall or garbage can so you can play backyard cricket. Also I went to a school that had a line painted at tennis net height on a wall so you could sort of play tennis with yourself.

You can also get magnetic paint, which can make any wall attractive to magnets which might be fun. I've never used it so I can't vouch for. But I've never met a kid that didn't like playing with magnets. Oh you could probably use a sheet of weatherproof metal of some sort for the same purpose, if you got a shiny piece you then have a nice backyard mirror for the kid to play with too, or it would at least add some interest to the fence.
posted by wwax at 8:43 AM on June 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Maybe a yardstick so that they can measure themselves, their friends, and various objects?

Portholes so that they can pretend they're underwater, inside a plane, or deep in outer space by customizing with chalk.
posted by delight at 1:53 PM on June 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also flower stems and skeletal trees that they can complete according to what's going on seasonally (or in their imaginations).
posted by delight at 1:55 PM on June 17, 2012


This! I wish I had a fence just so I could put up one of these chalkboards for my 5 yo daughter & her friends!
posted by sugarbiscuit at 3:09 PM on June 17, 2012


Okay, I admit that I didn't look at your photo first before posting the above comment (just sort of assumed I knew what a fence looks like). Anyway, it's hard to tell how smooth the fence is from the photo (are those vertical things shadows or posts?). if it's smooth enough you could just skip hanging the plywood panel and use chalkboard paint directly on the fence. Maybe frame it with some cute wood molding?
posted by sugarbiscuit at 3:31 PM on June 17, 2012


Nail on a marble run?
posted by grueandbleen at 4:23 PM on June 17, 2012


You could paint part of the fence with magnetic paint and put up....
Magnetic marble run with moveable parts
Magnetic Gears
Water wall
Climbing wall
Musical wall
Periscope
Mirror with face paint station
posted by biscuits at 6:27 PM on June 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Paint a large target for water balloon throwing. Or you could use blackboard paint and have a place to do chalk art.
posted by cross_impact at 1:40 PM on June 18, 2012


It's going to be so awesome. Thank you all for the ideas! Roll on summer and I can get out there with a paint brush!
posted by slightlybewildered at 2:37 AM on September 13, 2012


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