Chrysanthemum Activities for Kids

Instructor: Kristen Goode

Kristen has been an educator for 25+ years - as a classroom teacher, a school administrator, and a university instructor. She holds a doctorate in Education Leadership.

Chrysanthemum is a sweet little mouse with an unusual name. This book with the same name, written by Kevin Henkes, is geared toward lower elementary learners and contains a valuable lesson about being proud of who you are.


Chrysanthemum is a book about a mouse who loves her name until she is teased about it at school. In the end she learns that her name is, indeed, something to be loved and those that made fun of her learn a lesson as well. To make these lessons all come to life for young readers, consider using the following activities.

How Long is Your Name?

While reading the book, we learn that Chrysanthemum's name has a total of 13 letters (half the number of letters in the alphabet). Use this activity to let students count and compare the number of letters in their own names and classmates' names.

Materials: white paper, pencils or crayons

  • Begin by having each student write their name across their paper like a title. Then have them count the number of letters in their name and make a note of this number next to their name.
  • Now, have students use lines to divide their papers into 5 sections.
  • Label each section with a number from 4 to 8 (start with 3 if you have any students with only three letters in their name and use more sections if you have students with longer names).
  • Next, have students go around the room and ask one another how many letters are in their name.
  • After they talk to each student, have them write that student's name in the appropriate section on their paper.
  • Allow 8-10 minutes for students to work.
  • To wrap up, let students compare how many names they were able to find for each number on their page.

No Bullying Allowed

The children at Chrysanthemum's school were not very nice to her. In fact, they turned into bullies! We know that bullying is not allowed at school. Use this activity to help students think about how to react to a bully.

Materials: writing paper, pencils

  • Put students into groups of 3-5.
  • Give each group writing paper and a pencil.
  • Instruct the groups to talk about what they would do if they saw someone at their school bullying another child.
  • Have each group make a list of actions they could take.
  • Allow time for each group to work.
  • Have each of the groups share their ideas with the whole class.
  • Be sure to discuss each idea as a class and offer a teacher's viewpoint.

Wilted or Bloomed

As the story is read, we see a couple of instances when Chrysanthemum wilted and one, toward the end, where she bloomed. Use this activity to explore the meaning behind these words.

Materials: drawing paper, crayons

  • Begin by rereading the pages in the book where Chrysanthemum either wilted or bloomed.
    • Talk about what these words mean for flowers.
    • Talk about what these words mean for Chrysanthemum.
  • Give each student drawing paper and crayons.
  • Instruct students to divide their paper in half and label once side Wilted and the other Bloomed.
  • Next, have them draw two pictures on each side of the paper.
    • On the Wilted side, they should draw both a flower that has wilted and a picture of what Chrysanthemum might have looked like when she wilted.
    • On the Bloomed side, they should draw a picture of a flower that has bloomed and a picture of what Chrysanthemum might have looked like wen she bloomed.

I am Special

Chrysanthemum learns, in this story, just how special she really is. Use this activity to encourage students to think about what makes them special.

Materials: several cut out flower petals in various colors (enough for each student to have at least 6), pencils, white construction paper, crayons, glue

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