5 Ways to Use Crayons
Try one of these creative ideas for using the simplest of school supplies.
What it teaches: Creative word choice
What to do: Encourage students to come up with one sentence for every color of the rainbow. As they dictate, write their sentences on the board. For example, they might say, “The orange sun is high in the sky.” Underline the color word in each sentence. Now, encourage kids to dig through their crayons to find all the shades of orange. Ask them to read the names of the colors. Replace the word orange with a more descriptive phrase. For example, you might rewrite the sentence to read, “The mango tango sun is high in the sky.” Remind students to use more colorful language in their future assignments.
What it teaches: Shapes
What to do: Challenge kids to use the fewest number of crayons to make a triangle. How many crayons did they use? How many sides does the shape have? How many corners? Repeat this activity with a square, rectangle, pentagon, hexagon, heptagon, and octagon. What do they notice about the number of sides and corners? Can they combine a square and a triangle to make a house? What other shapes can they make?
What it teaches: Alphabetical order
What to do: Ask students to number a piece of paper from one to ten. Tell them to take out any ten crayons. Have students put their chosen crayons into alphabetical order, making a vertical row on their desks. Now students should write the names of the crayons in ABC order on their papers (using the crayon whose name they are writing). Students can now trade papers with a friend who should check for errors.
What it teaches: Classification
What to do: Pull out that giant box of “extra” crayons and let each student grab a big handful. Encourage students to find their own corner of the room and let the classifying begin! Ask students to put their crayons in groups based on anything they choose. Maybe they’ll group them by color. Or perhaps they’ll put them into two groups: with wrappers and without. Let children explain the way they classified their crayons. Did any students have the same ideas? Were there any unique classifications?
That’s a Lot of Crayons
What it teaches: Estimation
What to do: Tell students that Crayola has sold over 200 million boxes of 64 crayons—enough to circle the earth 24 times! Challenge kids to estimate how many inches an 8-count box would be if placed end to end. Try it and compare to the estimation. Repeat the process with 16-count, 24-count, and 64-count. Ask students what factors (like new or used crayons) would change the outcome. —DeAnn Marie O’Toole
Inspired by Idioms
Teach kids about popular sayings with these simple-to-prepare centers.
“Under the Weather”
Set up a space near a window where students can observe the weather. Have teams record the outside air temperature and observe which direction the wind is blowing. Ask students to also record if it’s mostly sunny or mostly cloudy, rainy or snowy, humid or dry. Encourage the students to use their data to predict the following week’s weather.
“Makes Your Mouth Water”
Provide unlined note cards and markers. Ask students to draw a picture of their favorite vegetable, fruit, protein, or dessert. Next, have the students use the pictures to create a class graph of their favorite food in one or all of the categories. Use the graph to discuss the importance of eating foods from all sections of the food pyramid.
Place two to five dice in a shallow tray.Provide paper and pencils as well. To practice addition, have kids roll two or more dice inside the tray and add the numbers shown. Ask them to show their work using a pencil and paper. To practice subtraction, have them throw two dice and subtract the lower number from the higher number.
“Not With a Ten-Foot Pole”
Make an “X” with masking tape on the floor. Next, have students estimate how far objects or destinations throughout the classroom are from the center point of the “X.” Include numerous points, so distances vary from a few inches to a few feet to ten feet. Once they’ve made an estimation, have students use a ruler, tape measure, or yardstick to measure the distance. To extend learning, let them measure how long the playground is. As a group, figure out how many ten-foot poles could lay across the area.
“It Only Takes One Bad Apple to Spoil the Barrel”
Place an apple, as well as a variety of foods (like bread, cheese, or bananas), inside clear, plastic individual baggies. Seal the bags securely and place them on a windowsill. Ask the students to guess which food will decay the fastest and then discuss their reasoning. Next, over the course of the next two weeks, have your students study the baggies each day and record their observations with words and illustrations. -Carmella VanVleet