K Portfolios – A Purple Crayon Adventure!

I’ve always loved books, so I love to start the school year off by reading an art-related story to each of my classes. My favorite “art story” for Kindergarten is Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson. This classic children’s tale was first published in 1955 and has been hugely popular ever since. It tells the story of a little boy named Harold who decides to go for a walk one evening, bringing only his purple crayon with him. Harold uses his purple crayon, and his imagination, to draw the scenery around him as his adventure unfolds. Children love the simplicity of this charming story and the idea that your imagination can take you anywhere!

This project uses just a marker and a purple crayon – no mess and easy clean up! If you’re like me and you’re looking for ways to simplify your life, here’s a fun “first day” lesson that can be done on portfolios or on regular, heavy-weight construction paper. Start by reading the story of “Harold and the Purple Crayon” by Crockett Johnson and then follow these easy steps:

1. Using a black (“F”) Sharpie, draw your self-portrait vertically on your portfolio. (You may want to demonstrate drawing a large circle about 1/4th of the way down from the top, so that students don’t start their drawings too small.) Add lots of details! (We always do another self-portrait at the end of the year…. it’s fun to compare them and see the growth!)

2. Now use a purple crayon to draw pictures all around you of the things you want to learn about in Kindergarten…. letters, numbers, bugs, flowers, making friends…. anything you can think of! Don’t forget to draw a purple crayon in your hand!

Kindergarten art projects don’t get much easier than that!!

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7 Responses to K Portfolios – A Purple Crayon Adventure!

  1. Infant Bibliophile September 6, 2010 at 9:42 pm #

    This was one of my favorite books as a child. Not only was it fun, but I can clearly remember being wowed by the concept that he could make anything happen that he wanted. Such a powerful message in a fun little book! What a great idea to let the kids draw their own version. My son hasn't taken to the book yet (he's not quite 3), but maybe if I gave him a doodle pad and a purple crayon, he'd change his mind. I am going to keep it in mind for when his drawing skills are a little more defined.

  2. Sherry and Donna September 7, 2010 at 2:58 pm #

    Hello I have just come by you blog and as a kindergarten teacher I think it's lovely. I haven't had a good look around yet but I've already picked up some inspiration! Thanks for sharing your great ideas.
    Donna :) :)

  3. Phyl September 7, 2010 at 6:12 pm #

    My big brother is named Harold, so I always loved that book as a child. I've never used it in the classroom – I don't know why not! I really like this idea.

    One thing to consider – I don't use Sharpie's with my K's due to the toxicity and permanence if not handled correctly. Does everyone else use Sharpies with the young kid?

  4. TeachKidsArt September 7, 2010 at 6:19 pm #

    Sharpies are actually non-toxic! (Look for the “AP” symbol on the barrel.) The ink easily comes off desks with a little rubbing alcohol or hand sanitizer, or can be erased fairly easily using a Magic Rub eraser. I tell my kinders that if they purposely draw on their skin or clothes, I will take their Sharpie and just give them crayons. I use Sharpies all the time with K's and it's never a problem!

  5. barbara's thought of the day September 9, 2010 at 3:23 pm #

    I've used sharpies with kinders as well, but tend to introduce them later in the year. We have a small budget and I really want to get as much mileage out of our supplies as possible. I let the older kids use them first. The little ones can be a tad rough on the brand new tips:(

  6. TeachKidsArt September 9, 2010 at 9:29 pm #

    That's very true, Barbara! I usually give the Kinders last year's Sharpies and reserve the new ones for the older kids. Same with the watercolor sets!! :)

  7. Anne September 10, 2010 at 8:29 pm #

    Yeah… I just made art portfolios 'your' way. Love how easy they folded… loved how the kids were so excited to decorate them. Thanks!!!

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K Portfolios – a Purple Crayon Adventure!

I’ve always loved books, so I love to start the school year off by reading an art-related story to each of my classes. My favorite “art story” for Kindergarten is Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson. This classic children’s tale was first published in 1955 and has been hugely popular ever since. It tells the story of a little boy named Harold who decides to go for a walk one evening, bringing only his purple crayon with him. Harold uses his purple crayon, and his imagination, to draw the scenery around him as his adventure unfolds. Children love the simplicity of this charming story and the idea that your imagination can take you anywhere!

This project uses just a marker and a purple crayon – no mess and easy clean up! If you’re like me and you’re looking for ways to simplify your life, here’s a fun “first day” lesson that can be done on portfolios or on regular, heavy-weight construction paper. Start by reading the story of “Harold and the Purple Crayon” by Crockett Johnson and then follow these easy steps:

1. Using a black (“F”) Sharpie, draw your self-portrait vertically on your portfolio. (You may want to demonstrate drawing a large circle about 1/4th of the way down from the top, so that students don’t start their drawings too small.) Add lots of details! (We always do another self-portrait at the end of the year…. it’s fun to compare them and see the growth!)

2. Now use a purple crayon to draw pictures all around you of the things you want to learn about in Kindergarten…. letters, numbers, bugs, flowers, making friends…. anything you can think of! Don’t forget to draw a purple crayon in your hand!

Kindergarten art projects don’t get much easier than that!!


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2 Responses to K Portfolios – a Purple Crayon Adventure!

  1. R Lennon October 4, 2009 at 9:02 am #

    I love the way you use children's literature with your art classes!

  2. Candy @ Healthy In Candy Land December 2, 2011 at 1:16 pm #

    Thank you for these great ideas! I am an art docent for my son's kindergarten class and have been looking for ideas for lessons. I love children's books as a way to help teach about art. I will be referring back to your site much more, I'm sure. Thanks!

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