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It's an Elmer-ful world: A colourful assembly

To observe and celebrate a world of many colours.

by The Revd Alan M. Barker

Suitable for Key Stage 1


To observe and celebrate a world of many colours.

Preparation and materials

  • Be familiar with the story Elmer, by David McKee (published by Red Fox).

  • A medium-large, smooth glazed vase. Decorate the vase in an ‘Elmer’ pattern by gluing large squares of brightly coloured paper onto its surface.
  • An assortment of brightly coloured flowers. Purchase contrasting ‘carnival sprays’ or select individual stems from a florist. Seasonal flowers can also be used. Include some brown twists of bamboo or corkscrew willow.
  • Practise your arrangement beforehand, ensuring that the stems are of the right length and that the flowers will stand upright in the vase. Some ‘Oasis’ or additional support inside the vase might help.
  • Place the flowers into a bucket and keep them out of sight until needed.
  • Work on a table draped with a suitably coloured cloth.


  1. Invite everyone to celebrate our colourful and wonderful world. Explain that you are going to arrange a vase of flowers – but not just ‘any old vase’. This arrangement has been inspired by the colourful storybook character called Elmer. (Produce the vase for everyone to see.)
  2. Place the flowers into the vase one colour at a time. Engage in dialogue with the children, along the following lines:

    ‘Here are some yellow chrysanthemums. Yellow makes me think of . . . golden seaside sand.

    What does the colour yellow make you think of?’

    (Responses might include: warm sunshine, bright dandelions,
    daffodils. Encourage the use of descriptive adjectives.)

    ‘Here are some white lilies. White makes me think of . . . glistening snow.
    What does white make you think of?’

    (Responses might include: fluffy clouds, gentle doves.)

    Continue with:

    lilac, reminiscent of: misty mornings, juicy grapes, blackcurrants;

    blue (iris), brings summer skies and swooping swallows to mind, as well as the deep blue sea;

    pink (carnations), like spring blossom and smiling lips;

    orange (calendula or gerbera), which glow like the setting sun or fierce tigers;

    a red (rose or gerbera), the colour of a spotted ladybird or rosy apples;

    green (foliage), which is so cool, like shady leaves or long grass;

    and brown wood brings to mind the good earth from which the flowers have grown.

    As each is introduced continue to ask, ‘What does this colour make you think of?’
    However, do not linger too long over each one. Keep the presentation moving.

  3. In conclusion, say that the ‘Elmer-ful’ vase of flowers is now complete. Invite everyone to appreciate its colours.
  4. Explain that the vase will be topped up with water and placed in the school entrance (as appropriate) for everyone to see. Reflect that, as people come and go, the bright display will remind everyone that we live in a very colourful, ‘Elmer-ful’ world!
  5. Conclude by wishing everyone a fantastic and ‘Elmer-ful’ day.

Time for reflection

Invite the children to pray with eyes open, looking at the flowers.

Look at the bright colours, and how they mix together.
Wouldn’t life be dull if everything appeared the same?
Let’s all be thankful!
We live in such a wonderful, colourful, ‘Elmer-ful’ world!


‘All things bright and beautiful’ (Come and Praise, 3)

‘Colours of the world’ or ‘The world is a wonderful place’ (from Colours and Patterns, Out of the Ark Music)

Publication date: March 2011   (Vol.13 No.3)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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