Harold and the Purple Crayon Lesson Plan

I enjoy re-reading books that I once read as a kid with the Dumpling because I now get to see the story from an adult’s perspective. Almost 30 years after my first reading of “Harold and the Purple Crayon,” I was finally able to understand the abstract (and even dystopian) ideas in the book. To the Dumpling, however, it is understandably just a story about a baby doodling with a crayon. As I compiled our lesson plan, I decided to sneak in a few abstract discussions to see her response…

Click here to download “Harold and the Purple Crayon Lesson Plan.” Please note that the content was tailored specifically for my four year old, so it may not reflect typical classroom material for a kindergartner.

Administrative notes

I began using PowerPoint for the Dumpling’s Covid-19 homeschooling because I wanted to create custom games and interactive activity sheets without any coding knowledge. Since PowerPoint was not intended for such use, please note that there are limitations and extra behind-the-scenes work involved in using the file. I toggled between “normal” and “presentation” mode as I went through the deck. The drag/drop and draw functions needed to complete the activities were done in “normal” mode, where content is editable, so I was constantly on Ctrl + Z (“undo”) duty.

PowerPoint also did not automatically load the “Draw” toolbar for me if I did not have my drawing tablet connected. To manually pin this on, go into the “customize ribbon” settings and make sure “draw” is checked.

There is also a pen option in “slide show” mode located in the lower left corner; this is great for any drawing/tracing/writing activities but note that objects cannot be dragged/re-arranged here.

Lesson Details

Purple

The Dumpling and I reviewed what two colors make up purple and tested mixing different proportions of blue and red food coloring to create it.

Click here to download template.

As we experimented, I sneaked in a discussion on color symbolism and psychology. These were not new concept since we have a copy of Kathryn Otoshi’s One at home, so I was hopeful. I mentioned the commonly perceived associations of purple, such as “royalty”, “spirituality”, “magic”, and “creativity” but unfortunately lost her completely within seconds. She asked to “do her own thing” and emerged 30 minutes later with a glass of purple “wine” for me.


Drawing

Harold literally creates his own reality with just a purple crayon and his wit, so I included a few drawing tutorials and a blank canvas for the Dumpling to release her imagination. These slides are best done using the pen function in presentation mode so that the timing of the animated steps can be controlled.


Fraction

Because I always get shafted when sharing food with the Dumpling, I thought teaching fraction would be a path to more equally divided portions. As a side project, we made pies out of play dough and practiced slicing them into halves, thirds, and quarters.


Phonics

We reviewed consonants, blends, and digraphs sounds.


Story Map

The Dumpling used to be all over the place whenever she told stories, so we practiced recounting events in sequential order.


Critical Thinking

Since the book blurs the line between reality and make-believe, I included a few choices to reflect this duality. There was no “wrong” answer as long as the Dumpling explained how a selected item could be used to perform the task. Her answers did not disappoint; she called on magical creatures to her aid and opted to shoot herself across the ocean on an arrow.


Reality vs Make-Belief

Having a philosophical discussion with a four year old was trippy, but interesting nonetheless. According to the Dumpling, her drawings are not real because they are just pictures.

When questioned about her sketch of something that made her happy (stick figure of her dad), however, she said that was real. From what I could gather, only drawings of people, places, or things that she had direct experiences with could be considered real.

I then asked what about Harold’s doodles? She replied, “Harold’s adventure was make-believe but also real, because of magic!”

BOOM.

Upcycle Cookie Wrappers into Chic Dresses

The Dumpling and I recently binged on a tin of Danish butter cookies—if you have never had them, they’re dangerously addictive. Within days, we finished the entire box and were left with a few dozen white wrappers that were too good to just toss out. Instead we painted and turned them into dresses!

My Post copy

Materials

Directions

Print the illustrations.

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The drawings are scaled to fit the butter cookie wrappers. If they do not fit the wrappers/liners you’re using, scale the images up (or down) in the print settings by adjusting the percentage in “Custom Scale” option. For example, enter a value between 101% to 200% to enlarge, or 1% to 99% to shrink.

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Paint the cookie wrappers. While we used craft paint and watercolors, any medium can be used. The former produced vibrant colors but left the wrappers stiff and crusty (therefore, hard to fold). The latter created softer effects but the wrappers ripped easily when it was wet.

Experiment with different folds to create the outfits. We started with folding the wrappers in halves, quarters, and sixths to make dresses and skirts, but eventually ventured into asymmetrical combinations.

Our Look Book

Skirts/Dresses

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Poncho

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Kimono

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The kimono, composed of four wrappers, was probably the most complex. The first is the bottom-most layer that creates the white collar; the second is the actual kimono; the third forms the sleeves; and the fourth is the sash.

Instructions for the first and second layers:

  1. Fold the wrapper into unequal halves. The greater the disparity, the longer the dress.
  2. Make approximately a 1/4″ horizontal fold from the top to form the collar.
  3. Flip the wrapper over. Fold the left and right sides toward the center, dividing the wrapper into thirds with the middle section being the largest.

Instruction for the obi: Continue folding the wrapper into horizontal halves until you get the desired width.

Instructions for the sleeves: Fold the wrapper into unequal halves. Then fold the left and right sides toward the center, with the middle section being the largest.

Umbrella

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Superhero cape

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Seven Summer Fruit Art For Kids

To celebrate the arrival of summer, the Dumpling and I created an art series featuring a few of our favorite summer fruits! We experimented with a different technique for each—from making paper mosaics to coloring with makeup to stamping prints out of various household materials. While we did the activities side-by-side (with me adding the finishing touches), the dissimilarities in our work are quite telling of how differently we approach each task!

1. Paper Cutout Watermelon

Paper cutout watermelon.

Directions:

Although this was a straightforward activity, working with my two and a half year old brought an interesting twist because her imagination isn’t yet fully bound by how a watermelon (or anything really) is supposed to look like. As a result, our compositions were as literal or abstract as we wanted it to be.

2. Paper Mosaic Pineapple

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Paper mosaic pineapples.

Directions:

  • Print the pineapple template.*
  • Cut yellow and green colored paper into approximately quarter inch tiles. Optional: Use different shades of the same color to create contrast.
  • Glue or tape colored the pieces on. (I used double sided tape.)

This was a perfect example of how the Dumpling and I diverge in interpreting directions—of me giving them and of her following. Instead of placing the pieces one-by-one, she just dumped everything on. It didn’t create the pixelated effect I was aiming for, but she did complete the activity…and it does look like a pineapple.

3. Thumb Print Strawberries

Thumb print strawberries.

Directions:

  • Apply lipstick (paint or stamp ink would work as well) on your thumbs and stamp to create heart-shaped prints.
  • Outline the prints with a mixture of rounded triangles and hearts.
  • Add leaves and speckles for seeds.

4. Wine (or Juice) Stained Grapes

Wine stained grapes.

Directions:

  • Download the grape template* and color each grape with blue, red, and/or purple watercolor pencils.
  • Blend colored grapes with a brush using red wine or juice (instead of water).
  • Drip red wine or grape juice onto the drawing for added effect. If you don’t have a dropper, soak a cotton ball and squeeze the liquid out onto the paper.

(This was a solo activity because I was that possessive of my wine…and I didn’t have grape juice.)

5. Bottle Cap Stamp Cherries

Bottle cap stamp cherries.

Directions:

  • Apply red paint on water a bottle cap and stamp.
  • Add stems and leaves on the berries after the paint dries.

Midway through our fruit series, I realized that I’m learning from the Dumpling as much as she’s learning from me. While I was carefully laying the cap on my sheet of paper in attempt to create perfect circles, the Dumpling just slathered a ton of paint on and stamped away. She used both ends of the bottle cap, creating a combination of outlined and colored-in circles—it was something that I didn’t think of until she showed me!

6. Pom Pom Smash Blueberries

Pom pom smash blueberries.

Directions:

  • Soak pom poms into blue and purple paint and smash them with a toy hammer. To limit the splash radius, cover the pom poms with clear plastic wrap.
  • Draw star on the berries to from the calyx once the paint dries.

7. Bubble Wrap Print Raspberries

Directions:

  • Cut a piece of bubble wrap into an oval-ish shape and glue onto a large beverage cap.
  • Apply pink and/or red paint onto the bubble wrap and stamp.
  • Draw circles to form drupes once the paint dries.

Like the cherry bottle cap printing exercise, the Dumpling’s unstudied approach uncovered another technique that didn’t occur to me. She just stamped and re-stamped over and over again—often on the same spot, which gave her raspberries a layered effect!

This project taught me that I should act more like a kid sometimes. I tend to over-think, over-plan, and over-analyze…while my toddler just does it. She keeps trying and experimenting until she runs out of paper or paint, whichever comes first. While my artwork often turned out as expected, the Dumpling’s carefree method often led to serendipitous effects. In the end, it was my toddler who taught me a thing or two!

* The printables look differently than my photos because my fruits were all initially free drawn; the templates were created after.

Turn Your Child’s Artwork Into Colorful Text Prints (Part 1)

I recently created a bunch of alphabet coloring sheets for the Dumpling, and we went on a coloring rampage with all sorts of materials—watercolor, chalk, craft paint, shaving cream, etc. I thought her application and choices in colors were spot on, so I cleaned up a few of her pieces in Photoshop (I helped her “color within the lines”) to create these beautiful alphabet prints!

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I received several inquiries on how the prints were created, and I was bummed out to tell others that they needed Photoshop. To make the project accessible to those who don’t have the program, I made two “electronic stencils” so they could be layered over existing artwork to replicate the same effect in PowerPoint. Since I needed “abstract” pieces for this method, it turned out to be a great way to give a few of the Dumpling’s old paintings a second life!

Alphabet-Stencil-Preview

 

Learn how to create them in PowerPoint by first downloading my “electronic stencils” and then watching my video tutorial below. I’ll demonstrate how the stencils are created from scratch in my next post!

 

Downloads

Alphabet Print Video 14
Electronic Stencil – Lowercase Alphabet

Alphabet Print Video 14
Electronic Stencil – Uppercase Alphabet