What if you could have a crayon that drew with your favorite color and even added sparkles into that? What if your magic crayon could change colors when you held it up, looked at it intently, and said, “poof?” This is the kind of magic and wonder that surrounds the children when you use the activity Magic Crayon with younger children.
“I have a magic crayon,” I tell the younger children. I pretend to take it out of my pretend pocket and hold it up in the air. “I’m going to decide what color it is. Poof!” I pretend to throw glitter at my pretend crayon as I make that sound. “Can you take out your magic crayon? Decide what color yours will be. Mine is yellow.” I hold up the crayon and begin to draw to the beat of the song while I sing the song. At the end of the first phrase, I call out, “Freeze!” “What color was your crayon?” I take the children’s answers. “I”m going to change my crayon color to red and blue stripes. Can you change your color?” We again draw in the with our pretend crayons and I sing the second phrase of the song. After a bit, we stop to let the children tell me what color their crayon was this time before singing again.
Sometimes the children sing along, and sometimes they are too entranced with their magic crayons and the drawing motions. I try to draw circles in the air on one side of my body, then circles in the air on the other side of my body (crossing the midline). I will then draw squiggly lines from one side of my body to the other side, up high by my head and down low by my knees. I make my drawing motions match to the beat of the song. This is an activity that works well with gentle songs.
Every so often, usually at the end of a phrase, I will stop singing, call out freeze, and ask the children what color their crayon was. This brings order to the activity, allows the children to express their individual preferences, and starts us all moving together again. Sometimes I will direct the children to draw a particular object like a sun, or a river (if it has to do with the song). Often the drawing motions are in figure eights across the body (and back) to the steady beat (a very strong movement used in the Brain Gym method to help the brain read better). The feeling in the room is one of gentle movement to the beat of the song, and wonder mixed with pretend. Magic Crayon is indeed magical.
This is an activity that could be used with both He Sent His Son and I Know That My Father Loves Me this year.
What a fun idea! Thank you very much! I think I am going to try this tomorrow. 🙂
So, do you direct the children to follow your movements? “Follow Me!” Or is it: this is my magic crayon, this is the color, and start singing… and the children either follow your movements or do their own? This statement: “and starts us all moving together again.” makes me think that the children just automatically follow your movements without being told, and then may begin moving in their own direction before you say, “Freeze”.
I like the idea of adding the extra direction to draw something specific… so much fun! They may just choose to cross their midlines on their own… their body may just do what their individual body may need 😉
I often draw big figure eights in front of me, then circles over to one side or the other. Yes, I do ask them to follow my hands a lot, so they naturally follow me. When I give them some direction it seems to help focus them into the activity. I like to vary the height and width: down by my feet, up above my head, tiny circles in the middle, huge rainbows over the top. It makes it more fun!
I loved doing this with our junior primary. Their eyes lit up as they imagined their colors in the air!
Do you sing to the music phrase by phrase or acapella?
I sing the song as a whole, and I often sing a cappella. Sometimes the pianist will play along with me, but they have to be sensitive to stop playing when we stop to ask about the colors the children are using. Thanks for asking!
Come Follow Me: Magic Crayon for Younger | Teaching Primary Music
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This is such a wonderfully simple idea. How many times would you sing through the song doing this?
I usually do it at least twice, depending on how creative we get with the colors we imagine, or what we are coloring (the floor, the wall, the ceiling). I want the children to have their body and mind engaged while they are hearing the song.
When you ask what color their crayon is, do you ask they raise their hand to answer, or do they all just shout it out? regaining their attention after a reply session would seem a bit chaotic, but maybe resuming with the crayon would silence the responses?
I raise my hand as I ask what color their crayon is, then call on a child by name, or one who has raised their hand. They don’t shout it out usually, but if they do, I ask for raised hands (a new concept for the four year olds ).
And yes, resuming the movement with the crayon does pull their attention back to the song, you, and the activity. Thanks for asking!
And do you make up what drawing patterns you use as you go, or is this a pattern you practice and have down beforehand?
I will often sing the song to myself and try to do a simple movement that matches the song. Often I will direct the children to a place… let’s color the ceiling. Can you color this wall? Draw a circle.
I appreciate the questions!
Thanks for the fun ideas. I will be attending the music workshop in Atlanta at the beginning of March. I’m so excited to have the opportunity to attend YOUR class! 🙂
I would love a video of this being done. Thank you for all your wonderful ideas. The primary children love them!
Love One Another Magic Crayon Singing Time - Primary Singing
[…] If you need more help using this Magic Crayon idea, see Sharla Dance’s post! […]