This Old-School Storage Container Is the Perfect Way to Store Sidewalk Chalk and Outdoor Toys

published May 16, 2023
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Credit: Ashley Poskin

Is there anything so sad as a bloated piece of sidewalk chalk that got left out in the rain? A whole pack of sidewalk chalk floating in a pail of water, maybe? This unfortunate issue was happening at our house ALL. THE. TIME. and I was so over it. The simple solution was for my child to just remember to bring it inside and put it away when she’s done, but I couldn’t count on that. I needed a backup plan. I needed something she would want to use, that she would take ownership of and care about. 

I considered a trip to my favorite place, The Container Store, but we already had so many bins and boxes I decided to shop my house first. I wanted something that was hard plastic, and could close completely to keep rain out if it were left outside – and again, something she would actually like to use. After a few minutes poking around the basement, I found a Caboodle I’d picked up at the thrift store and knew immediately it was going to work not just for the chalk but all the other little items we take outside!

Credit: Ashley Poskin

Where to Buy a Caboodle

Lucky for us, Caboodles are still manufactured and you can buy one exactly like the one we used. If you’re looking for simple, or something the kids can customize, you might consider a plain white one. Vintage Caboodles are easy to find on Ebay and Etsy, with a similar price tag to new ones. They’re designed to hold quite a bit, but the small size keeps them from becoming overloaded and getting too heavy, and the easy latch and simple handle make it easy for kids to tote around. 

Credit: Ashley Poskin

What We Keep In Our Outdoor Caboodle Kit

  • Sidewalk chalk: We love Target’s Sun Squad chalk, so I buy the 60-piece set and replenish the Caboodle as needed. 
  • Outdoor toys and other fun stuff: We loaded our Caboodle up with bubbles and silly string, but I have a feeling you could fit a bunch of Nerf darts and water balloons in there as well! Bubble wands are too big for the kit, but I include a few small bubble bottles and just refill them when they’re low. 
  • A first aid kit: The last thing we have in our outdoor fun box is a first aid kit. It’s very humble, just a tiny Ziploc containing an alcohol wipe, bandages, and Neosporin for simple scapes and cuts. I like to do this to encourage kids to help themselves, and it seems to help keep playtime from being interrupted.

We try to keep our outdoor kit inside right by the door so we can grab it on the way outside to play. When we forget and leave it outside, it actually does a good job at keeping rain from obliterating the chalk – as long as it’s closed! The handle and small size make it perfect to store in the car as well for those unplanned stops after school at the park! From all shades of Wet ‘n’ Wild eyeshadows and sticky lipgloss to colorful chalks, water balloons, and bubbles, I’m so excited to be able to give this 80s icon a new lease on life! 

This post was originally published in May 2022.