Friday, September 7, 2012

Harold and the Purple Crayon: Creating Your Own World

See the pun?

Little T had been drawing houses, flowers, and whatever she could think of, for several days in a row. Her MegaSketcher was hardly out of her lap, so I thought we would read the perfect book to support this fervor in drawing.

Harold and the Purple Crayon

Written by Crockett Johnson and published in 1955, “Harold and the Purple Crayon” celebrates the creative process of drawing and the power of imagination. It has never been out of print and is in various lists of best picture books. 

The story starts with Harold, a little boy, thinking of what he wanted to do and proceeded to create (draw) his own world. We love it!

Manila Paper and Purple Crayon

The most obvious activity for this, of course, was drawing on a large piece of paper with a purple crayon. I thought it would make a great gift wrapper after! But surprise, surprise, Little T didn’t want to do it. So back to the MegaSketcher we went, drawing ghosts with stairs on its back, and families kissing each other, etc. It’s fine really, because I took out the book exactly because she was already making her own worlds in her MegaSketcher.

I Made A Line

I always try to get a good go-along for any book that we are reading. For "Harold and the Purple Crayon", I took out the similarly-themed "I Made A Line" by Leonard Kessler, another popular and well-regarded author and illustrator.

"I Made A Line" is full of drawing concepts, like round, square, dash, draw up, draw down, that helps children see that lines do make drawings! It was fun reading aloud from the book and having Little T draw what she hears me say...

"I can make a line go round and round like the sun or a wheel"
"I can make a line go dash, dash, dash into the sea"

And then hearing her make her own drawing instructions...

"First, you need a U to make a face"


“Five in a Row” encourages the reader to explore the different perspectives to be found in “Harold and the Purple Crayon.” A square, seen from above, is a square. A square, seen from the side, like when drawing a picnic blanket, is a diamond.

My husband, the Wonderful G, said he had an idea that I wouldn't like. (Why he was right is worthy of another blog post.) But since I asked him to be the "art teacher" in the first place, I let him carry out his plan. He and Little T used his iPad (can't believe I agreed!) to take pictures of square and round objects from different angles. Little T then traced the figures with her finger. The clear demonstration led Little T to discover for herself that a square seen from the side looks like a diamond but is still really a square.

The alternative idea would have been ideal: take pictures, print out, then use markers to trace the figures. But, as I said, I did ask my husband for his participation. And so the iPad made its way into our mostly electronic-media-free learning. (Can you tell, I really didn't like it! :D)

Make magic!

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Mariel @ The Learning Basket said...

I have to work on accepting even "in moderation" hehehe! I have to admit though that it was a great idea and that it served its purpose :D

TrulyRichMom/TeacherMamaTina said...

Hahahaha! :) I love Wonderful G's idea! :P Everything in moderation (though I am guilty, guilty, guilty of not observing this! Teehee!)

Mariel @ The Learning Basket said...

I should have remembered chalk! It might have worked better than the manila paper and purple crayon :D And I love the  water sprayer as eraser! Will definitely do next time!

sanne said...

We were drawing with chalk in our garage when I remembered that we had Harold and the Purple Crayon. I planned the activity to practice writing and fine-motor skills (we used a sprayer with water as eraser) but realized that it was the perfect introduction to Harold. :)