Monday, August 6, 2012

Harold and the Purple Crayon

Another favorite book at The Speech House is Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson.  I admit that I only discovered this book series about 4 years ago.  Harold is a young boy who draws everything with his purple crayon.  As he draws his pictures, he interacts with them: walking down the purple sidewalk, into the purple forest, and riding in the purple hot air balloon. The stories are cute, humorous, and imaginative.  Harold draws a dragon to guard the apples on his tree but his own drawing scares him and his shaking hand draws an ocean. 

The thing I like the most about this book is its use in working on creativity, imagination, pretend, and problem solving.  These are goals I often work on with students having ASD.

  • Discuss the idea of pretend and imagination. Some kids may have trouble with the idea of Harold interacting with his drawings.  This can also spark a discussion of "daydreaming" as a creative and enjoyable process.
  • Harold usually encounters problems on his adventures.  Before turning the page, have the student give multiple ideas on what Harold could do Rolls of butcher paper work well for this activity so that the child can draw out their complete adventure, roll it up, take it home, and practice retelling the story.  For older kids or to take this to a smaller scale, I have used adding machine rolls of paper.
  • Cooperative activity: Group works by taking turns adding to the picture story.
  • Art Activities: Purple paint (make your own purples with red & blue), shades of purple in cut out shapes, purple yarn art...
  • Sensory: Grape koolaide for painting or in playdoh. Shaving cream play with food coloring to combine colors.
  • Printables: Finish the story, Coloring page, or simply photocopy images from the book.  A good following directions activity is coloring according to verbal directives, "Color the moon yellow".  Make it a verbal expressive task by having the child give you coloring directions. 
  • Snacks: blueberries, grapes, PB&J, purple fruit chews/roll-ups, jello, purple cow (milk and grape juice drink)...
  • Game:  There is a commercially produced game but it may be hard to find.  It consists of a whiteboard and purple marker and a set of story cards.  The kids pick cards and have to draw the element on the board creating a story to go along with it.  The next child picks another card to add the board and adds to the story. I like to have the kids repeat the story from the beginning each time they add to it; this works on story telling, sequencing, and memory skills, not to mention creativity and flexibility to accept and add to others ideas. (Ebay is often a good place to find older games).
  • Movie on Youtube:

Other Links:
Enchantment Theater Guide to Harold: This site has a study guide to go along with their theatrical performance.  It has some nice resources about theater and some good question and review worksheets.
Purple Theme:  Lots of fun activities around the color of Purple.
Purple Books & Printouts at Enchanted Learning
Delightful Learning blog of activities she did with her kids using this book.
Pamela's Bookclub has activities a fun Mad Lib activity.
HBO Family online Harold draw, stamp, paint activity.
Speech Lady Liz has some fun ideas for Speech Therapy activities. Be sure to click on her yellow links to find some great materials she created and shared to go with her activities. 
Muhlenberg edu pdf booklet for ages 7 & up; for ages 7 & under.