Playing with sidewalk chalk is a staple activity for children everywhere and is sometimes even used as a medium by professional artists. But did you know that historians believe even the earliest peoples played with chalk? Early chalk was made from gypsum, a natural substance that could be pulverized, colored, and compressed into sticks. The art of using chalk for street painting began in Europe in the 16th century when travelling folk artists began using chalk along with broken tiles and charcoal to decorate public spaces in various towns. The tradition was so popular that it didn’t end until World War II broke out! Street painting was revived in the mid-20th century, and the trend gave rise to sidewalk chalking as a popular pastime. It became an especially popular activity for kids and continues to be enjoyed by people of all ages to this day!