Colorado Neighborhood Considers Banning Sidewalk Chalk

The Denver neighborhood of Stapleton is reportedly considering banning the popular summertime pastime of children drawing on sidewalks with chalk.  Citing concerns that the art is distracting and disruptive to the neighbors.  The local CBS news station has more:

[Mother Sarah Cohen] said they moved to Stapleton because it was a family-friendly neighborhood.

“We live on a courtyard and we all bought into the notion that we were sharing a space,” said Cohen.

But the group — called a Innovations and Courtyard Traditions at Stapleton, a sub-association of the Stapleton MCA (Master Community Association) — said because it is a shared space, anything that offends, disturbs or interferes with the peaceful enjoyment isn’t allowed. It seems that some neighbors have complained.

“The association is trying to go down a path of do no harm and prevent the sidewalk art as opposed to… until such time as it can get together and discuss it,” said the attorney representing the group.

Cohen said no neighbors have mentioned anything to her. She also plans to keep letting her daughter use chalk to decorate the common area.

“It’s summertime and God forbid my daughter is drawing flowers, her name and hearts,” said Cohen.

Image: Sidewalk chalk, via Shutterstock

Add a Comment
Back To Parents News Now
  1. by Robin Hanning

    On June 21, 2012 at 4:03 pm

    That is the stupidest thing I have ever heard! Are bubbles next?

  2. by shampaigne

    On June 21, 2012 at 4:07 pm

    I can not believe someone would try to take the creativity out of a child if you have a problem then don’t look at it she is doing no harm to anyone and if it really is that big of a deal then talk about “clean up time” after she draws. I am astonished that this is even being considered. I feel for the mother and little girl, how dare those people try to take away this pass time that has been around for many generations from children, they should be ashamed of themselves.


    On June 21, 2012 at 4:07 pm


  4. by nancy suttenberg

    On June 21, 2012 at 4:09 pm

    I actually didn’t allow my daughter to write on our sidewalk or driveway when she was young- AND and totally REGRET it. Harmless playing of children is a healthy thing. I was just afraid of the neighborhood being “upset”.

    Today I have learned that the giggles of little ones are much more important than the complaints of some “uppity” people. If they are so concerned about it, they should move into 55 or older neighborhoods.

    I am also definitely opposed to overregulation of private property rights as well.

  5. by Cathy Carroll

    On June 21, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    How much more of childhood enjoyments going to be taken from our children. The chalk is not permanent. It can be hosed off. Get a life people.

  6. by Krystal

    On June 21, 2012 at 4:12 pm

    wow! I cant beleive someone would really call Sidewalk chalk offending or disturbing.. Ya know unless someone was actually drawling dirty pictures or bad words… Some people are just idiots!

  7. by Jeannette Swanson

    On June 21, 2012 at 4:19 pm

    REALLY??? What’s next, give our kids cotton balls to use as baseballs/softballs ….. That has got to be the idea of someone who sits @ home all day feeling cruddy bout their life and remembering a cruddy childhood and obviously STILL BITTER…… My word, get a hobby…..

  8. by Rachel

    On June 21, 2012 at 4:21 pm

    Is this for real? The child is not doing drugs, hanging around in gangs, vandalizing the neighborhood, and they want to complain about issues like this? I would give my right arm to have this be the most serious issue in my neighborhood. After they eliminate cell phones while driving, practice defensive safe driving and all the other things licensed adults should be responsible for to begin with before we shift blame to a little girl in pigtails drawing hearts on the sidewalk. The Grinches needs to start being thankful for what they do have and let the kids play. Take away a child’s today and you take away your tomorrow.

  9. by Laurie

    On June 21, 2012 at 4:27 pm

    We have become such an intolerant society! It’s a shame that neighbors complain about such little things. We don’t have slides in parks anymore, we have scoots, after all, we wouldn’t want the kids to get hurt going down an old fashioned, slick as all get out slide. We are taking away so many childhood pleasures it’s too bad. This is exactly the reason we don’t live in an HOA neighborhood. My neighbors have cars and trucks in their front yard, dogs that occasionally bark but they are good neighbors and I know I could count on them in an emergency. Heaven forbid, we even talk over the fences! We have become an intolerant society only looking out for ourselves and afraid of the world next to us. What a crying shame.

  10. by Sharon Birmingham

    On June 21, 2012 at 4:27 pm

    This is rediculous. It’s only chalk. It washes away with water. If it was permanent, like paint, that is another story. If it bothers some people just take a hose and wash it off when the children are done playing. Really, is this what is important? I think something else is bothering these people and they are using the childrens play as a mask. Get a life people

  11. by Darci

    On June 21, 2012 at 4:42 pm

    This is so sad and so ridiculous! We live in a neighborhood just like that! There is one neighbor who has and will complain about EVERYTHING…and she walks the block with a pen and paper writing everything down…and if you’re doing something she finds wrong, you will get a notice in the mail that you are in violation of HOA rules! It’s dumb…and it’s frustrating! We live in a neighborhood FULL of kids, and she will complain that they are playing too loudly outside, in the middle of the day! We want to move, but then she wins! She stands outside smoking…and that smoke will come through our windows if the wind is blowing just right, and there is NOTHING we can do about that…but she can complain & have notices sent when our children are playing too loudly or drawing on the ground with chalk!! I think it’s disturbing that anybody would want to be like that! Sidewalk chalk does not hurt anybody!!! Some people are just plain rude, immature jerks!

  12. by Ruthann Lowery

    On June 21, 2012 at 4:43 pm

    these people need to get a life I say no to the banning of sidewalk chalk.

  13. by LILY

    On June 21, 2012 at 4:50 pm

    oh yes, let’s ban chalk on the side walk. It’s much better if the kids go inside and watch tv, maybe something that teaches bad manners, like spongebob, or maybe play a video game, I hear driving cars and running over pedestrians gives you extra points in the game. That will make the neighbors love them when they hit the teen years.

    Oh, and since chalk is banned, let’s just go straight to spray paints. I hear graffiti is making a comeback.


  14. by jessica b

    On June 21, 2012 at 5:08 pm

    You have got to be kidding me. Our last condo complex pulled the same. They are doing nothing more rhan distroying our children’s creativity to cater to a few uptight jerks that are pissed that they aren’t kids, with free time to have fun, anymore. Besides it is sidewalk chalk not graffiti and it washes off. The neighbors that complained should be sent to therapy to get over whatever issues they have

  15. by Almajhoola

    On June 21, 2012 at 5:13 pm

    I can’t believe it either! It is fun, harmless and self cleans with the rain! Isn’t it enough that our kids seem to be focused on electronics these days? Why do we have to stop what “normal” play they like to have?!

  16. by Madalin

    On June 21, 2012 at 5:22 pm

    This is ridiculous! Kids aren’t even allowed to be kids anymore! We take away chalk, and then guess what happens? That’s when kids turn into rude, ignorant, adults and act like the ones who complain about chalk! People always complain that the next generation of kids are so bad, but that’s because these “bad kids” aren’t allowed to be kids! A lot of people expect kids to sit down, shut up, and don’t move. That’s when kids become defiant, and turn to gangs, drugs, or other horrible things! Let kids be kids! Who cares about sidewalk chalk! There are more offensive things kids could be doing! But teach their own I guess…

  17. by Patricia Happe

    On June 21, 2012 at 5:36 pm

    In reguards to the person stating that they should move into a neighborhood 55 or older.I am 57 yrs of age and would Never take away something so simple as chalk away from my granchildren.Not all 55 yr.olds are meanies.It all washes off with one rainfall.So Stupid to even try to get this banned!!!GRRRRR!!!

  18. by Alisha McCumsey

    On June 21, 2012 at 5:38 pm

    Thats the most rediculous thing ever!!!!!!! Its great for their imagination. It doesnt hurt anything if they ban it I hope the lil kids that drew on the sidewalk find something new and even more annoying to the ones who dont like the chalk

  19. by Angela

    On June 21, 2012 at 5:53 pm

    Who honestly cares??!!? I remember doing this growing up & now my kids do it. This was all brought on by some old cranky stick in the muds with nothing better else going on in their lives than to bitch about WASHABLE side walk chalk!

  20. by Jolene

    On June 21, 2012 at 6:31 pm

    If a community wants to make sure their “peaceful environment” isn’t disturbed than they should move into a Senior community that doesn’t allow children. Sidewalks in a family neighborhood are for jumping rope, bike riding and drawing pictures and hopscotch boards with sidewalk chalk.

  21. by Ed

    On June 21, 2012 at 7:03 pm

    Sounds like Ebenezer Scrooge is alive and well.

  22. by Fl mom

    On June 21, 2012 at 7:16 pm

    Unfortunately I believe there are some associations that do not allow you to fly an American Flag. This are the same people who find a child’s washable art offensive. I saw to all you crazy HOA people go count the blades of grass on your lawn since you have nothing better to do! All you kids, run threw the sprinklers, blow bubbles, climb trees, drip popsicles and by all means chalk draw everywhere!!!!

  23. by Athena Fitchpatric

    On June 21, 2012 at 7:16 pm

    Taking all creativity from the kids, sounds kinda harsh I would be pissed if someone told me that my baby can not use sidewalk chalk. Next they will expect all citizens to were gray and if you are not wealthy you can’t have a car or have to ride a bike or something absolutely nuts people where are the freedoms to pursue happiness? Aren’t kids people too? There are too many bad things in this world why steal the good from the people who need it most.

  24. by Dougpear

    On June 22, 2012 at 7:34 am

    “anything that offends, disturbs or interferes with the peaceful enjoyment isn’t allowed.”

    People in this community who are offended and disturbed by uptight, busy-body a-hole neighbors should start a petition to get THEM banned!

    I would never in a million years live in an HOA community. I’ll judge my neighbors on their words and actions, not by how well they trim their shrubs.

  25. by Larken Bryant

    On June 22, 2012 at 7:37 am

    It’s a sad world when people want to rid the world of peaceful and innocent play. It’s a sad world when people want to ban children from public restaurants..etc It’s a sad world when people are so fussy and self absorbed that they spend their lives being the ones who want to ban innocence, especially when there are other devastatingly evil things in this world to be up in arms about. Do you really want to be that person whose list of accomplishments in life was to rid the neighborhood of sidewalk chalk when others can boast to saving a life, being kind to others, donating time and money to others who need it and a million more honorable accomplishments. I get it’s tacky but are you so base and hateful that you don’t have the capacity to knock on your neighbors door to ask them to hose the chalk off every once in a while or to do it yourself. Here’s a thought, why don’t you sit back and enjoy the fact that a child in your own neighborhood, state and country has the freedom, safety and delight of going outside safely and enrich there own imagination. People see through pin holes sometimes and can’t see the actual world in front of them. (steps down from soap box)

  26. by J.J.

    On June 22, 2012 at 7:38 am

    What the hell is the matter with these people? No more hopscotch? No more creative drawings on the sidewalk? Don’t we want the kids to have fun any more? It all washes off – much better than some other forms of activity. And you don’t have to waste water! A good rain will take it all away!

  27. by Jennifer

    On June 22, 2012 at 8:08 am

    Finally!! I’m so tired of seeing uplifting drawings done by sweet, innocent children. The evil in the neighborhood was at an all-time high until they came around with their colorful, removable graffiti. Ban it please, so that I can walk down the streets kicking puppies again without those repulsive distractions.

    Dr Evil.

  28. by joan reisler

    On June 22, 2012 at 8:46 am

    crazy,crazy, crazy !!!!!

  29. by Brittany

    On June 22, 2012 at 8:47 am

    I just do not understand how anyone can consider how a childs artwork disturbing or unpeaceful! Would you rather kids grow up unable to express themselves? For some kids it is the only release they have. Creativity is an important part of child development, and sidewalk chalk washes away and doesnt do any damage to the environment unlike spray painting that many adult and teens use. Also, if you are saying that because ONE person out of a whole town complains because something that is “distracting” you should ban it, then why not ban children playing outside all together? We are a nation that has such a problem with the size of our children so lets tell them that going outside and playing hop-scotch is no longer allowed along with baseball, tag, and duck-duck-goose.

  30. by Dee

    On June 22, 2012 at 10:46 am

    REALLY!!!! Just like the “moms” that caught a fit about Lego Friends, these other mom are just plain ridiculous. Let kids be ids. Its not like the chalk is forever. Whats next, no bikes, roller skates or anything else that can keep our kids entertained. Get a grip, and find something better to do with your time!!! Stop acting like children!!

  31. by Tabatha

    On June 22, 2012 at 11:29 am

    You have got to be kidding me right? What the heck is this world coming to? This is a free country? Since when? I can not believe people are complaining over a child expressing themselves through art. I bet everyone who has complained played with it when they was a child. How dare these people try to take away something as simple as chalk from children. When these children start tearing up these “wonderful” houses in this “wonderful” neighborhood because everything they can do has been taking away then what are they going to say, no children allowed in the neighborhood? Here is something to think about, these children will be wiping the butts and giving meds to these people making these crazy decisions one day, maybe they will decide you don’t need your pills because it is taking up too much of their time to take care of you or wont clean you because its simply “not good for the neighborhood” to take care of someone who is such a disgrace to children and america’s name!

  32. [...]… Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this. Posted in Soapbox and tagged Art, Behavior, Children, Denver, Parents, Sidewalk Chalk [...]

  33. by T.J.

    On June 22, 2012 at 11:52 am

    Personal property- driveway, sidewalk, etc- are exempt from this “ban.”
    Drawings do not bother me, however I think a level of responsibility in respecting the space of others is important.
    I do not disagree with the sidewalk chalk in common areas, especially if the child/parents are not cleaning up afterwards.
    Not knowing if the area has any graffitti problems, perhaps the neighbors are concerned about toddlers using sidewalk chalk and teenagers using spray paint?

  34. by jennifer

    On June 22, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    as a mom I want my kids to stay out of trouble & the best way to do that is keep them busy. sidewalk chalk is a cheap pleasure all kids have & dont think it should be possible to ban it.. why do people have to make a big deal over small things..
    now if there were swear words or gang signs in chalk I would understand, but that wouldnt be a ban on the chalk that would be discipline for the person who wrote the inappropriate stuff.

  35. [...] Yet for some kids in Denver, Colorado, sidewalk chalk may soon be a thing of summers past, as some residents consider banning the popular pastime because of its “distracting” and … [...]

  36. by Jodi

    On June 22, 2012 at 6:47 pm

    With all the major problems in the world, drugs, violence, etc and this town is worried about chalk art????? Next thing you know kids playing in lawn sprinklers will be outlawed because it is too distracting to others. Please. Get over it people….let our kids be kids and draw on a sidewalk. If you don’t like it, wait until the rain washes it away!

  37. by Stella

    On June 23, 2012 at 9:52 am

    We live in an apartment all of the kids sidewalk chalk, our apartment manager approached my husband and asked if we knew who was responsible for the kids”vandalism”? There are gang tags on the apartment s across the street and someone is worried about my 2 year olds sidewalk chalk?

  38. by minicoopsmom

    On June 23, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    This is the stupidest and most selfish thing I have ever heard. Maybe the a-holes should move to the grumpy senior citizen suburb up the road. This is why I won’t live in a home that is subject to ridiculous HOA rules.

    I think my son and I are going to go decorate the sidewalk today…

  39. by Gramma

    On June 24, 2012 at 6:45 am

    @ Nancy – Assuming it is older folks who have this issue is prejudice. I love making chalk drawings with my grandchildren.

    It seems like the association is trying to mandate peace, which many times does not work.

  40. by NikiM

    On June 26, 2012 at 9:50 am

    We don’t have a sidewalk in front of our house, but my entire driveway is covered in sidewalk chalk. My boys love to go out there and draw pictures. Our neighborhood is comprised mostly of elderly people, but they love the drawings too.

  41. by Marianne

    On June 26, 2012 at 11:27 am

    I’m amazzzzed that “this” is a problem. If the association wants to have a peaceful, acceptable solution to the “problem”…have the kids wash off the art when they are done. End of discussion! …and to the non-kid friendlies…move if it’s that upsetting to you! That’s why it’s called a community! We all need to be a little bit less angry at the wolrd. lighten up. It’s called childhood.

  42. by Damaris

    On June 26, 2012 at 5:16 pm

    Sad that kids have to be victims of people who have no consideration for integrity of the family, values, and overall health. Outside activities broaden a child mind in great ways…. what to do expose them to more T.V and Video game. Then still complain about ADHD and ADD

  43. by Laura

    On June 27, 2012 at 7:17 am

    If this were my neighborhood, I would re-paint my house in a colorful, sidwalk-chalk-graffiti-inspired design.

  44. by Mom

    On June 27, 2012 at 10:47 am

    Wow, some of you posters sound so spiteful and angry. Instead of wondering why the world doesn’t revolve around your kid, try respecting the space of others. Children in public places should be courteous of property and clean up afterwards. ALL parents should be modeling this behavior, not getting defensive like this.