Winter Reading Fun: Crayon Rubbings with The Mitten

Crayon Rubbings with The Mitten by Jan Brett

Crayon rubbings are fun for all ages yet simple enough for preschoolers and toddlers. Pair it with our favorite winter folktale, The Mitten by Jan Brett. Extend the activity for older kids by holding a “texture hunt” around the house to find objects that, when rubbed over with paper and crayon, reveal interesting textures and patterns.

You can hear author/illustrator Jan Brett read her story (and also see her lush illustrations) at the Reading Is Fundamental website:

https://www.rif.org/literacy-central/material/mitten-read-aloud-video-jan-brett

What you need:

  • old crayons (remove the paper)
  • chipboard shapes or assorted objects that are flat yet dimensional, e.g. a coin, a flat Lego piece, alphabet stickers, a comb, etc.
  • copy paper or paper shape (we used a mitten to go with the story)
  • short piece of yarn or ribbon

What you do:

  1. Arrange the items on your table or work space.
  2. Place the copy paper or paper mitten shape over them.
  3. Hold the crayon on its side (not the way you usually hold it) and rub it firmly over the surface of the paper until you see the shapes underneath emerge.
  4. Use a different color crayon to add more dimension.
  5. Move the items around and do it again!
  6. Use the yarn or ribbon to tie two mittens together. If you don’t have a mitten shape, we have some Take & Make kits available at the Main Library on DeMott Lane – or trace your hands and cut them out!

TIP: If the objects move around under the paper as you are rubbing, try taping them down with removable tape, like painter’s tape or washi tape.

TIP: You can create the rubbings on a piece of copy paper and then cut out the mittens so that the designs show where you want them.

TIP TO MAKE PAPER SHAPES: To make a mitten shape, trace a hand on the paper. To make a circle, trace a plate or a glass. To make a heart, fold the paper in half and cut from the bottom point of the fold out to the edge, up around in a curve toward the top and down to the fold (basically, draw half a heart). Open it up – and you have a heart!

Random Rubbings: Extend the activity for older kids by finding different textures and dimensional patterns around the house and make rubbings from them on copy paper. Use the paper to create origami and collage!

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