Harold and the Purple Crayon

There is something slightly impalpable about the classic children’s book that we read this month that makes it so endearing. Harold and the Purple Crayon is the story of a boy who draws himself into an imaginary world with a purple crayon. The illustrations are just simple purple line drawings, but that simplicity leaves much to the imagination. For example, my son likes to name the “9 types of pies” referenced in the book. He makes up new pie-types each time we read the book. Crockett Johnson’s play on words in the book make it an amusing read for parents as well.

We read the book as a group and although many of the children were engaged in the book for at least a good portion of the time, they each engaged in different ways. I want to take a moment to note my observation of the natural differentiation amongst our children this month. Some children sat and listened to the story on their parent’s lap, some sat on their own. Some stood and listened and some engaged in their own copy of the book as we read, while others moved around quite a bit during the story. These variations also became evident during our activity as well.

To mimic Harold’s artistry with a purple crayon on a blank slate, we rolled out a long sheet of blank white easel paper  and handed each child a large purple crayon. Did you know you can purchase a box of only purple crayons?! We then let the kids draw as they pleased. As with our reading of the book, the children each took different approaches to the open opportunity. Some ran up and down the paper with their crayon, while others stayed in one place and worked on their own drawings. Some drew with broad strokes and lots of fury, while other made small contained markings. Some held the crayon as if writing words, while others pealed the paper and rubbed the crayon on the paper. Some did all of the above at varying points in time.

After working with real crayons, it was time to snack on some…edible crayons! That’s right, edible crayons! I stumbled upon the idea of edible crayons on this website: http://www.the-girl-who-ate-everything.com/2011/05/edible-crayons-for-teacher-appreciation.html. I loved this adorable idea, but I was determined to “health it up” a bit since one of our book club goals is to provide (generally) healthy snacks at our meetings. These edible crayons used candy melts for the colored ends. I adapted the idea by dipping each end of a pretzel rod into blueberry yogurt (which is usually a purplish color) instead of the candy melts. I then froze the yogurt covered pretzels overnight before taping the label which I adapted from this Gourmet Mom On the Go blog post: http://www.gourmetmomonthego.com/2008/12/crayon-wrappers-galore.html. I used the Back To School Crayon Labels document on this blog. I copied them into Microsoft Word and then overlaid a black text box with white text so that each label read, “Crayon” (a bit more fitting for our purposes).   Thanks to Gourmet Mom on the Go for providing such a great template for free on her blog! A quick tip for making the “frozen yogurt” version of these crayons: they melt quickly while adhering the labels, so freeze small batches on small plates so you can take them out a bit at a time to adhere the labels and then put directly back in the freezer. I was able to then transport the entire batch in a cooler with lots of ice to our meeting and place in a freezer until snack time. I didn’t have any issues with melting and the kids ate them so fast that THEY didn’t have any issues with melting either!

Speaking of eating, the kids devoured every single crayon that I made! I waited until they were in the 3-year old range to introduce this cute snack because I didn’t want any confusion between which crayons were edible and which were not. They didn’t seem to have any problem with this distinction though and they did just fine taking off the paper before eating the pretzel. As far as I know, no one ate any of the paper!

I personally loved how ascetically pleasing this meeting was! Between the purple mural and the “crayon snack” it was a purple feast for the eyes!

Next month, we’ll explore a newer book, but one that I am certain is bound to became a classic. In the meantime, we’ll also read a book for our “Virtual Book Club for Kids” meeting that happens to be by one of my favorite children’s book authors.

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