A simple exploration of color inspired by a classic children’s story!

I love “Elmer the Elephant” by David McKee! Yes, I do!

Introducing a Storybook Character

Where possible, I try to collect my favorite story book characters to go along with each of my favorite books. While reading Elmer the Elephant, I let the children take turns holding the elephant. Each time I turn the page, the children pass the elephant to the next child in the circle.

Expanding on the Story

Elmer has so much color in his patchwork coat that it is only natural to follow up the book with a little patchwork sponge painting.

Start with a grocery bag, cut apart, to use as the canvas because the color of the paper bag has a good coloring to resemble the elephant before adding a colorful coat.

Trace around an elephant shaped template. I like to use Craft Foam for my templates because it is nice and thick and easy to work with for tracing. I can save all my craft foam templates for later on as well.

I cut up a sponge into little squares/rectangles and set each one in a dab of paint.

Cut out the elephant shape from the paper bag and place it on another paper bag for painting.

A Simple Exploration of Color

Then start sponge painting the elephant.

Now my boring brown elephant has a colorful patchwork coat just like Elmer!!

The process for making an Elmer will vary depending on the age of your students.  Don’t discount the idea of just sponge painting on the paper bag without making an elephant shape first!


You can purchase this book here…