Chrysanthemum Activities

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What a wonderful way to celebrate being unique and meeting new friends. The book Chrysanthemum, by Kevin Henkes, is full of wonderful opportunities for learning and we had fun making up some wonderful Chrysanthemum activities. 

Chrysanthemum Activities | Creekside Learning

{affiliate link}  Chrysanthemum is a mouse who grows up loving her unique name—until she goes to school. The other mice tease her for having such a long and unusual name.  That is, until they meet their music teacher, who has a fantastic and flowery name of her own.

Make a Flower Garden of Names.  Starting with Chrysanthemum, then adding the names of friends and family members.

Write Chrysanthemum and the names of  family and friends (or classmates if you are doing this for a classroom project) on strips of paper.  Kids can copy one letter onto each petal. Prep a long sheet of butcher paper with grass and stems.  Help children glue the petals onto the stems.

Draw a simple flower petal template and trace it onto a sheet of white paper, then photocopy it onto different colored cardstock. The flower centers are from a  1 inch circle punch (Oh-so-many uses for the one inch circle punch. I’ve actually worn one out and am on my second one.).

Here is a math Chrysanthemum activity.  Take the name strips from the flower activity and use Unifix Cubes to count the number of letters in each name. 

Then order them from most to least.  Of course, Chrysanthemum’s name is the longest.

Next, show children a card with a, e, i, o and u on it and identify the vowels in all of the names, putting a Unifix Cube on each vowel. Point out that the “y” in Chrysanthemum is following the “sometimes y” rule. 

We sounded out the names without their vowels. They all sounded very silly! This is a fun activity, too. Try  calling each other by your vowel-less names for a while.  Giggles ensue. There is a great song on LeapFrog: Talking Words Factory about vowels. 

We pulled out the cards from our Hello Kitty Memory Match Board Game and made up a game with the name cards by matching a Hello Kitty card that had the same beginning sound as each name (Daddy/drum, Bella/bird and so on). You could use any small object for this.

Make a mouse ears headband to go along with Chrysanthemum activities.  We made these during our week of learning with another famous mouse, Angelina Ballerina.  The instructions for making them are in my Angelina post.

For more fun activities with literature, including another Kevin Henkes favorite, Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse, click over to my Learning with Literature page. 




  1. Another fun thing to do with names is to spell them out just like you would be saying the name. “Hi G.R.A.C.E” or “Hi my name is S.A.L.L.Y!” When say-spelling them you get a rhythm that has a fun sound to it.

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  2. What creative ideas! Love the mouse head bands to tie in the lesson.

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  3. What great ideas! Your bio blurb up top is amusing enough that I’ll have to check out more of your posts as my girls grow. :)

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  4. What wonderful ideas!! Love how you even used math & the cubes!!! Thanks for linking to TGIF!! See you next week,
    Beth =-)

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  5. My 5 year old would love these activities. I like the use of unifix cubes to do a name graphing activity! We are starting a collection of books and activities on our blog and this is exactly what we are looking for. We would love to have you link this and any other book and activity post up as well. The link will be open year long!

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  6. These are beautiful activites! Plus, I have a really, really unusual name myself (Xuan), and so I immediately sympathize with Chrysanthemum!

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  7. It just occurred to me you could also discuss # syllables in the names using those cube counters. Thanks for all the ideas. We will have to get our Legos out and try some of your tips. By the way, Kevin Henkes has a new book coming out next month, Penny and Her Song. Can’t wait to read it!

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  8. I love your math lesson! What a great way to tie math to words!

    Thank you for linking up!

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  9. What a great idea!!! I love that you can use this idea for all different themes/word! Thanks sooo much for sharing!!!

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  10. Fabulous activities!!! We just love that book.

    Pinning this post to my pinterest.

    Popping in from the wrap-up

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  11. My favorite “bringing books to life” activities are ones where you cross over into different curriculum areas. The math & graphing activity is a great one. And I also like the flower wall. :o)

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  12. Kevin Henkes is such a fun author! I love all you did with names.

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  13. What great activities for a great book. I love Kevin Henkes. We love reading Little White Rabbit and My Garden by him. Thank you so much for sharing at Sharing Saturday!

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  14. What a fun way to get the kids excited about the book. Chrysanthemum is one of our favorites as well. We have it on tape, and listen to it frequently on long car rides.

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  15. Love the unifix cubes. Such a good visual way to see the difference in lengths of words.

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  16. I love every idea I have seen you posted. It is a good thing I don’t have to choose just one or the best !!! 😊 blessings to all.

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