The Day the Crayons Quit Display, Scavenger Hunt, and Photo Contest

You know what I wish? That one day the stars align and the theme of the B.C. Summer Reading Club matches either the Collaborative Summer Library Program or the iRead Summer Reading Program. You all have some amazing ideas! Today’s post will shine a light on the creative work being done this summer with the iRead program featuring artwork from The Day the Crayons Quit by Oliver Jeffers.

These activities fit perfectly with the theme of “Reading Colors Your World,” but it could totally be used year-round. Crayons are used for writing, and writing is one of the five early literacy practices after all. The rainbow colours would make also make a beautiful addition to a Pride display. Basically, I will be stealing and using this in Vancouver as soon as possible.

I would like to give a special thank you to Ron McCutchan, Head of Youth Services at Princeton Public Library in Illinois and Sophia from the Maplewood Public Library in Missouri. They have graciously shared their designs and activities here for all of us to use.

Book Walk and Scavenger Hunt

At the Princeton Public Library, Ron led his team in creating a word scavenger hunt and book walk around the main shopping district in partnership with the Chamber of Commerce. Along with a page from the book, these adorable crayons hid in store windows while holding up a secret word that families wrote down on their scavenger hunt card. The crayons are now decorating the children’s department post-hunt. What I love about this activity is that you could easily set up the scavenger hunt inside or outside of the library, you can change the secret words to fit a theme, and the crayons can be used as decorations in any display, So many bangs for your buck!

Want to create your own set? Use the following documents to help you along the way:

Craft, Photo Contest, and Crayon “Retirement”

Sophia at Maplewood Public Library also took the theme and ran with it. First she made some DIY crayon people and shared the instructions on the library’s social media channels to encourage families to create their own writing buddies. I love instructions with photos – so great for kids!

To increase engagement, the library is also doing a crayon “retirement” event at the end of the summer where you can adopt one of the crayon people. Is this not the cutest thing ever?!! And to top it off they are running a crayon photo contest where families can adopt a crayon or make one of their own and then take pictures of them doing fun and silly things during retirement. I’m obsessed.

Thank you to Ron and Sophia for sharing these ideas! I can’t wait to make some crayons of my own.

As a very random side note, as a child I learned to pronounce crayon as “crown” and have to consciously change my pronunciation every time I say it otherwise I get some very confused looks from kids. Just me?

Will you be making any special displays or scavenger hunts this summer? Any other cool ideas you want to share relating to Summer Reading? Any words of praise for Ron and Sophie? Comments are open and ready 🙂

18 thoughts on “The Day the Crayons Quit Display, Scavenger Hunt, and Photo Contest

  1. Fantastic! Thank you Ron and Sophia for sharing. They are super adorable!

    1. Thanks, Emily! If anyone sees this comment you should definitely go check out Emily’s blog 🙂

  2. The “crayon retirement” idea is brilliant (alas, after 3 weeks in store windows, ours were a little faded and had some tape damage, so we just recycled them as displays) It reminds me of another idea. We recreated the iRead poster on our big display wall, with large (30″)crayons made out of colored poster board. While I was working on them, several young patrons expressed a lot of interest and asked to draw the faces on them (which I happily allowed). I didn’t have the resources to turn it into a craft activity for a larger group, but if you are looking for a companion crayon craft that’s interactive or that’s a little easier than the 3D crayons, I think a “make your own crayon friend” using poster board and construction paper (for arms, legs, and wrappers) would be a great addition.

    1. Ron, you are an ideas machine! Thank you for allowing me to show everyone how brilliant you are here on the blog.

  3. Very cute ideas. Thank you so much. I am a “crown” person too. I just thought it was my Texas accent.

    1. Maybe one of my preschool teachers had a certain accent I never realized! I grew up in Northern California but I’m the only person in my family who pronounces it this way.

  4. These are so cute with great extension activities. Thank you for sharing not only the ideas but templates too.

    1. I try to make it as easy as possible for people to recreate. All props go to Ron and Sophia!

  5. Thank you so much for sharing! We are always looking for ways to partner with our community and this is a great idea.

    1. Yes, I loved that aspect of it. Works great for social distancing too when the displays are viewable from the windows.

  6. I really like the format of Sophia’s photo instruction sheet! Consider me inspired.

    1. Right? That’s something I would find personally helpful so I’m definitely adding a visual component to instructions in the future.

  7. Ah! I love this so much. Also you’re not alone, I grew up (and still do if I’m not thinking about it) pronouncing crayons like “Crans” :’ ) I’m going to put this idea in my pocket for the future. Thanks for sharing!

    1. “Crans” is how everyone says it here, haha! Maybe I’ll add some sort of pronunciation voting to my display 🙂

  8. HI there! Love this idea. Side note: I love that you shared how you pronounced crayon as “crown.” When I taught in New Mexico, a student asked me to pass the red “crawn” and I had no idea what he was talking about. The whole class was in uproar, “You don’t know what a ‘crawn’ is?!” For them it was a dialect thing of northern, rural New Mexico I think. As a New Englander, I say “Aunt” differently than most and the kids always got a hoot that I didn’t pronounce it “Ant.”

    1. I’ve never heard “crawn” but I know it’s one of those words that has many regional variations! It makes me think that hearing words pronounced differently can be one of the first experiences we have as kids recognizing people are different from us and had different experiences growing up. Thank you for sharing your story 🙂

  9. Hi Lindsey,
    We tried the Crayons Quit last month during spring break and it was such a hit! I made our crayons out of pool noodles covered with the paper wrapper that you included above. I hid them around the branch and then created a scavenger hunt page for customers to use to find them. Each crayon had a letter with it and when all the letters were collected, it made a phrase. The customer could tell us the phrase and receive a prize – a crayon we made using old broken crayons melted together to make a new rainbow crayon.

    I have pictures I can send if you would like to share them. This idea was brilliant and I’m so glad you shared it!

    Amie L
    Cockeysville Branch
    Baltimore County Public Library

    1. Wow, Amie, that sounds amazing and I would love to see photos! I can share them on my Instagram page for all to see your brilliance. You can email me at

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.