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A Chair for My Mother

Children’s EI (Emotional Intelligence) needs to be nurtured and fed just like their IQ. Literature does this very well. As a response to a children’s book such as “A Chair for My Mother” by Vera B. Williams, students make a personalize symbolic gift for important people in their lives using recycled material and Crayola® Ultra-Clean Markers.

  • Kindergarten
  • Multiple Lesson Periods
  • Directions

    1. How do we make people happy? Help them to feel better? Understand what they need? These are valuable skills in character development. They are thoughtfully and poignantly illustrated in “A Chair for My Mother” by Vera B. Williams.
    2. After reading the picture book aloud to the class, discuss how the girl in the story responds the people around her. What do the students notice about how she tells the story? Does she share only happy times? How does she feel about herself and her situation? Does she only think about herself and what she wants? In what ways does she show her gratitude?
    3. Assemble numerous recycled materials and craft supplies such as coffee filters, cotton balls, and chenille stems. Prompt the students to think about their mothers or other significant people in their lives before designing chairs to suit them. What colors do they like? Bold or subtle patterns? Soft or firm seating? A big or small back? What would make them comfortable and feel at home? Remind the class that the chair, so long dreamed of, fits into the house so perfectly that the Mama can turn out the light without waking up her child on her lap.
    4. With Crayola® Ultra-Clean Markers, decorate coffee filters to be used as chair “slip” covers and pillows. Construct foundation shapes from recycled materials. Glue down cotton balls on the base and cover these with the colored filters (folded or gathered together like fabric).Craft sticks may be used to support backs and other parts. Arms and other parts of the chair may be built with chenille stems.
    5. Display the class’ works and have each child talk about why they made the choices they did in their design and construction.
  • Standards

    LA: With prompting and support, identify characters, settings, and major events in a story.

    LA: With prompting and support, describe the relationship between illustrations and the story in which they appear (e.g., what moment in a story an illustration depicts).

    LA: Describe familiar people, places, things, and events and, with prompting and support, provide additional detail.

    LA: Use illustrations and details in a story to describe its characters, setting, or events.

    SS: Explore and describe similarities and differences in the ways groups, societies, and cultures address similar human needs and concerns.

    SS: Describe how people create places that reflect ideas, personality, culture, and wants and needs as they design homes, playgrounds, classrooms, and the like.

    SS: Describe personal connections to place – especially place as associated with immediate surroundings.

    SS: Distinguish between needs and wants.

    VA: Students will initiate making works of art and design by experimenting, imagining and identifying content.

    VA: Students will investigate, plan and work through materials and ideas to make works of art and design.

    VA: Students will reflect on, share insights about, and refine works of art and design.

    VA: Students experience, analyze and interpret art and other aspects of the visual world.

  • Adaptations

    A big part of the book, “A Chair for My Mother”, involves saving money toward the purchase of a chair. Many math activities such as counting and money denomination can spin off from a re-reading of the book with a math focus.

    Pick a fundraising project for your class. Specify the ways that the money will be saved by the students (i.e. not given by their parents). For example: Grandma puts the savings from a good bargain into the jar. Watch children’s excitement build as they near the target fundraising goal.

    Use this book to inspire conversations about a positive attitude. Take each part of the story and ask the students to talk about how someone with a negative attitude would have handled things.


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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