Get Kids Thinking Creatively With These Literature Extension Ideas for Harold and the Purple Crayon

This post is part of the 31 MORE Days of Literature Unit Studies series. You can find all of the links to the thirty-one studies in this post. If you’d like to use these ideas to create your own unit study, this post has step-by-step instructions as well as a free unit study planner. (Want to know more about what, exactly, a unit study is? This post will help.)

While you’re reading and working on your unit study, you can download this free printables pack of graphic organizers for reading. It has a plot chart, venn diagram, KWL chart, two mini book report organizers, a character analysis chart, a plot outline chart, and a reading response sheet where students can record facts while reading.

Activities for Harold and the Purple Crayon

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Harold and the Purple Crayon is a childhood classic. In fact, even my eleven year old recognizes this and confronted me because, apparently we don’t own a copy of the book. I think her precise words were, “You’ve ruined my childhood.” At least she’s read the book. Anyway, there are some fun things you can do with the kids in conjunction with reading this book. And it can definitely inspire kids to get their own creative juices flowing.

Book Information

Title- Harold and the Purple Crayon

Author-Crockett Johnson

Recommended ages- PreK-2nd grade

Synopsis- Harold is an imaginative boy with a purple crayon. As he draws with his purple crayon, he creates an adventure for himself.

Language Arts

Real vs. make-believe- Talk with the kids about the difference between things that can happen for real and events that are make-believe. As you read through the book, have kids identify which events could really happen and which are totally make-believe.
Sequencing- Write a few sentences about each thing Harold draws on index cards. After reading the book, have the kids place the events in the order that Harold drew them.
Creative writing- Give kids the writing prompt- “If you were drawing an adventure like Harold did, what would you draw?” Let older kids write their own story. Younger kids can dictate.


The moon- Harold begins his drawing by drawing the moon, which follows him throughout the story. Share with the kids these fun moon facts from Science Kids.
The moon- This Free School video will teach the kids more about the moon.
The Forest- Harold draws a forest…but it has only one tree. Kids can learn more about forests in the kids’ section of the U.S. Forest Service site.

Social Studies

Cities- Harold draws a city with large buildings. Kids can watch this video to learn about cities.
Cities- This site has two awesome printables to help teach kids about cities. One is a lesson plan that will walk older kids (intended for 3rd grade) though designing their own city, and one is a Neighborhood Scavenger Hunt that kids can use to learn more about their town or city.

Policemen- Harold draws a policeman to ask for help to find his way home. Kids can learn more about policemen as community helpers with this interactive book on the Scholastic site.

Crafts and Fun

Crayon crafts- These crayon canvases are a cool art project. They’ll require lots of parent help, but the kids can help make a color pattern with the crayons and help use the hair dryer.
Drawing- Type the words of the story- or part of the story- on to blank pieces of paper. Let kids draw their own version of Harold’s drawing adventure.
Pie recipe- Harold drew nine different pies to try. Make a pie with the kids with one of these recipes from the Kidspot site.
Hot air balloon- Make a hot air balloon like Harold’s drawing with one of these super cool crafts.

Activities for Harold and the Purple Crayon

More Books About Creativity

Learn more about the author- Crockett Johnson- on his website here.

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