Preschool Minnow Program: Harold and the Purple Crayon Project

Project Title: Harold and the purple crayon
Description: Book making
Author: Mary Hager
Grade level or Target Age Range: Preschool
Vocabulary: imagination, problem solving
Materials: Large construction paper, crayons.
Anticipatory Set: Read Harold and The Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson
Story line:
The protagonist, Harold, is a curious four-year-old boy who, with his purple crayon, has the power to create a world of his own simply by drawing it.
Harold wants to go for a walk in the moonlight, but there is no moon, so he draws one. He has nowhere to walk, so he draws a path. He has many adventures looking for his room, and in the end he draws his own house and bed and goes to sleep.
Demo/Directions:

  1. Pre-fold large piece of construction paper into a small flip book (refer to book making link above).  With older groups, have the students complete the paper folding themselves.
  2. Introduce the book Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson.
  3. As Harold encounters each problem, have the students draw exactly what Harold draws. For example, Harold drew an apple tree because he thought there should be a forest where he was standing (so the class drew an apple tree). After drawing the tree, he decided that there should be a monster protecting his apples when they ripened (each student should draw a scary monster next to their tree).
  4. Continue these steps until the book is finished.
  5. Have the students decorate the cover of their book.

Discussion: Share Harold and the Purple Crayon with children and then ask:

  1. If you had a magic purple crayon, what would you draw?
  2. What could you draw to make your neighborhood a better place? Your city? Your state? The world?
    • Encourage children to think about the different things Harold drew to get himself out of each dilemma he encountered.
    • Then offer some situations to the children (these encourage the use of their imagination!
  1. Harold is flying a kite. The kite gets stuck in a tree! What can Harold draw?
  2. Harold is taking a walk. It starts to rain. Harold is getting soaked! What can Harold draw?

Instructional Reflection:

  • Slowly reading the book and stopping at each dilemma Harold encountered worked great with the preschool class.They gave me their full attention while they eagerly anticipated what happened next.
  • Drawing what Harold drew was also very important because it reinforced the concept of problem solving to the students.
  • Having a discussion after the art project is important in order to reinforce the focus of the lesson.
  • This can be adapted by using different stories.

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