Harold and the Purple Crayon Activities

Harold and the Purple Crayon was our Five in a Row selection for the week.  This book presents a lovely opportunity to explore creativity, especially in writing and drawing.  We enjoyed some inspiring go-along books with an art theme, and made creativity our primary focus of the week.

Snack and Story Time

We started the first day of our row after lunch.  We changed into purple shirts, snuggled on the couch  to read Harold (and other books that inspire creativity), and ate purple crayon cookies!

Progressive Setting and Story Telling

After we read the book, we discussed Crockett Johnson's choice to use a progressive setting.  We learned that a progressive setting is one that changes and develops throughout the story, as opposed to a fixed setting.

We moved into the schoolroom so the kiddos could try creating a progressive setting of their own.  They each got their own long roll of easel paper taped to the floor to create their story settings.

They each walked along their creations and told a story to go along with their purple drawings.  Here are some of my favorite experts from each of their stories:

Sam and the Purple Crayon:
"He looked up on the beautiful sky, and didn’t look where he was drawing!  He drew a turn by accident.  He fell down with the purple crayon drawing right next to him.  Then he drew some ground."

Max and the Purple Crayon:
"First Max was perfect in the crayon world."  
"….then I went on a boat then I had dinner with a skunk and a giraffe.  Then the skunk farted. (Do you see the skunk spray?)."   
"….He didn’t know which window would be his so he made a bunch of windows.  Then he asked a dentist (dentists are really smart in this) and he said that the tallest building could be his.  So he went in the tallest building and he made the bed and fell right asleep.  He dreamt of more excitement that he would have in the morning."

Literary Devices- Puns

We discussed how writers can bring humor to their stories through the use of puns.  In the book, Harold  "made" his bed (by drawing it) and "drew" up the covers.  We added "puns" to our FIAR notebook builder as one of the "Tools Writers Use." 

Choices Artists can Make:  

 Perspective-Vanishing Point 
The first art lesson we learned from Harold was creating Perspective using a vanishing point.  Harold did it when he created a path to walk on in the beginning of the book.  (Note: There is not a page in the FIAR Notebook builder like the one below, I made this one to better fit our needs).

We also learned about foreshortening but did not include it in the notebook.  In the book, Harold drew a picnic blanket, using a foreshortened square (which is more of a diamond shape when drawn) to create depth and the illusion that the blanket was laying on the ground.

We looked at the picture in the book and in the examples in the FIAR manual and discussed it, but they were not interested in trying the technique for themselves.

Pie Picnic
In the story, Harold has a picnic with just pie (but it was the nine types of pie Harold liked best!)  We laid out a vinyl tablecloth and I set out the ingredients (pudding and graham cracker crusts) for the nine pies of our own pie picnic.  Sam made most of them, but each kid made at least one.  You might notice that there are only eight pies in the photo.  Yes, one was eaten before I had a chance to snap a pic!

Later we had the art lesson mentioned above about foreshortening, since it was about the way Harold drew the picnic blanket.  I had planned to also do a lesson on fractions to go with the pie picnic theme, but we didn't get to it.

Window Markers
We bought some Crayola Washable Window Markers (affiliate link) recently, and the kids had a ball drawing on the window!  I thought it kind of complimented the part of the story where Harold is searching for his bedroom window.

For spelling practice, I asked Sam to write his daily sentences on the window instead of paper.  I thought it would be a fun way to incorporate our Harold/art theme and break up the sentence writing monotony.  He was excited about the idea of it, but grew tired of it quickly.  He only wrote a couple sentences and didn't want to do it the rest of the week.  He would much rather draw pictures- go figure!

Story Sequencing Cards

We made some DIY story sequencing cards to go along with the story.  I simply photo copied several pages from the book onto cardstock and cut them out.  Since the illustrations are so simple, it doesn't take much ink.  

I gave each of my kiddos a few cards to hold as I began to read the story.  They had to listen carefully, and when I read a page that described one of the picture cards they were given, they got to put it down on the floor.  I did't get a photo, but we put them all in a line in sequential order.  It's a fun way for kids to interact with a story, gain comprehension, and improve listening skills.  This was definitely a favorite activity of the unit!

Sam and I cut out the cards together and we ended up with a bunch of text cards.  So I decided to use those too!

The object was to spread out the picture cards, draw a text card and read it, then match it to a picture card.  I liked this activity because it keeps a certain someone from relying too heavily on the illustrations to "guess" the text.  (Note:  the key words here are "too heavily."  It is beneficial for children to use illustrations to figure out words they find difficult as a reading strategy).

Preschool Trays:

Purple Crayon Play Dough- Made with purple crayons!
We used the crayon play dough recipe from Sugar Aunts,  which uses crushed crayons as the coloring for the play dough.  Could there be a more perfect craft for a Harold unit??  

I took the photo of the tray and activity after it had been enjoyed many times!  It includes a moon (because everywhere Harold went, the moon went with him), a P to make "Purple Play Dough P's and review the /p/ letter sound.

Beginning letter sound worksheet- colored with a purple crayon!

I have the whole alphabet of letter sound coloring pages from The Measured Mom printed out.  We are not doing letter of the week, but when the opportunity comes up to reinforce a letter sound, I like to pull one of these out!

Fine Motor:

Cityscape Cutting Practice

In the book, Harold drew a city full of buildings (and windows), hoping to find the window to his bedroom.  To go along with the city scene in the story,  I drew a quick cutting practice page for Corinne.

The wide rectangles create simple straight lines for easy cutting (using card stock helps too).  As she cut, the upper portion of the paper got in her way, so I cut it off for her.  After that, she was ready for some serious cutting practice!  

Tracing Harold's "waves" with a purple crayon

I chose several wave-like patterns for Corinne to trace with a purple crayon. The "waves"are intended to mimic the scene where Harold's shaking hand accidentally creates water.  I got these Prewriting practice printables from 3 Dinosaurs.   There are many tracing pages to choose from, and they are all free!  I find them to be useful as an activity Corinne to do alone, alongside her brothers.  She loves to sit at the table and do work with the older kids!


I wrote a separate post about this tray.  I really didn't realize how much could be learned from this very simple activity until I began writing about it!  If you would like to read about the skills Corinne used, please check out Harold and the Purple Crayon Window Counting.

Go-along Books:

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1 comment :

  1. Thank you for your work and documenting it. I really appreciate it! You are doing a great job.



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