This year is the 60th anniversary of Harold and the Purple Crayon, by Crockett Johnson. Reading it can inspire some drawing with crayons fun for kids. Harold even drew some fun for adults in an episode of The Simpsons.
Harold and his purple crayon not only draw pictures, they also have adventures, with the crayon drawing out and creating the story. Imagination turns the wiggly lines into ocean waves and a straight line into a path in the woods. A rectangle with a horizontal and a vertical line in the middle becomes a window. Lots of rectangles with crosses makes a tall building with many windows. Even though all the illustrations are purple, in our mind’s eye we can see the other colors too.
Both images and words contribute to the story and encourage the skill of visualizing. To visualize is to create images in the mind from words and sounds. It is a critical skill for reading and helps kids clue into the meaning of what they hear.
We don’t think of visualizing as something we need to practice, but it can be a challenging skill for many. Not only does it help with reading, but the strategy of visualizing is also used in relaxation therapy. It can help reduce anxiety and stress.
When kids draw, we can encourage them to tell us about their pictures. Some possibilities of things to ask or say are:
Tell me about your picture.
Do I see a circle shape?
Are there any people in your pictures?
If kids have three or 4 pictures, you could put them together into a book. It doesn’t need to tell a story like Harold’s. It can be called (Your Child’s Name) and the Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue and Purple Crayons. Or, the book might be markers instead of crayons. Will you keep it for 60 years?