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Me and my Family

Me and my Family

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Recycled Crayon Experiment on a GRUMPY Day

Every week I get online and look for new ideas of things to do with the kids. Over and over I saw information about recycling crayons by melting them. So, I decided to try it with my kids to see if it would work and if they would enjoy it. Goodness knows I have a million old broken crayons, so I wasn't wasting good crayons. The muffin pan was $2.50 at Target at the dollar spot so this craft was cheep cheep. Right up my alley! 

I was hoping this activity would stop the bickering and fussy behavior that happened the moment all of the kids had arrived. This was the kids first day back after being out from all of the snow. I noticed all of the kids were a bit grumpy. Whenever the kids are gone for more than a day or two, it takes a little while for them to get back into the swing of things.  K's mom wasn't even out of the door before my own grumpy Ruby pushed K and had to sit in time out. Shortly after that,  K and Bells were screeching at each other fighting over a toy. Toys were being thrown as well as temper tantrums. I expected the kids to have a few hiccups in behavior today, but THIS was ridiculous! The only way to stop this madness was to do a group activity and the crayon experiment was perfect.

This activity was great for working on fine motor skills. The kids had to sit and peal the paper off of some of the broken crayons. It also forced the kids to keep trying and not give up. Bells kept saying, "I can't do it!" I continued to encourage her to keep trying and she would eventually get it. "I did iiiiit!" she would say proudly.

As we took off the wrappers, we sorted the crayons by color. When we were done sorting, I took the time to review the colors we were using. Then, the kids followed me to the kitchen where I showed the kids that I was putting them in the oven. 
The kids went back to playing and arguing and I played referee while I monitored the crayons . When the crayons had melted a bit, I brought the kids back into the kitchen to show them the progress. I explained that they couldn't touch the pan because it was very hot, but they could look. K observed the melted crayons first, "WOW, it looks like paint!" Ruby and Bells agreed with ooo's and ahhh's.

And then 
I went out to put the crayons in the freezer to cool. When I came back all three kids had made themselves comfy on the couch or floor. They all asked for blankets and Dora.
Now, I do not normally let the children watch television until it is time for me to cook lunch, but after the morning we had already had with pushing, throwing and even some biting, I was going to follow their lead for a little while. The crayons would be cooled by the time Dora was over, so we would have a natural transition back to activities without fussing.

So, once the crayons cooled and Dora was over, I showed the kids the muffin tin of the newly hardened crayons. After the "Don't touch it, it is hot!" lecture, they wouldn't touch them until I did. But then, they jumped right in. I popped out the new homemade circle crayons. The kids screamed like they had just seen Elmo! We took them back into the playroom and tested them out.

The kids enjoyed the circle crayons, but we found them a bit difficult to make work at first. Bells and K lost interest and left Ruby to color by herself. She colored for a little while, but then decided it was more fun to stack the circles and count them.   
K and Bells had made there way back to their previous positions. UGH!

So it was a good thing my mom showed up!

She brought new life to the crayons, by drawing her own picture with the kids. She drew a sunshine!  The kids were excited to color with her. They each picked back up their own crayons and began coloring.

Thank Goodness for GAMAW!!!!
So, here is my review of the crayons. They were OKAY. I think there is good potential. If I could find some new pans with different shapes it could be a great learning tool. Imagine a box of crayons all different shapes. Not only could the kids review colors, but they could also reinforce shapes. We could also make crayons that are seasonal. I'm seriously considering hearts for Valentines Day!
Silicone was the right way to go as far as the pan was concerned. Metal might have made it a pain to get the crayons out. But, the crayons did dye the silicone pan, so don't spend too much money on a pan. Check a dollar store or Target dollar spot.
The crayons didn't color very well. I thought they would be able to use them flat as well as on their side. I thought they might be able to make different patterns. They could, but not easily. I had to push down really hard to make the flat side work, and the kids aren't strong enough for that. 
I will definitely try this again with new shapes to keep it fresh! Even if they don't color very well, the color and shape reinforcement is worth it!


Anonymous said...

I have some of these in my classroom. We call them the "Fancy Crayons." I had the kids peel them like you did, then brought all the broken bits of crayons home and threw different colors together and melted them. They are very cool, and even though my kids are in 3rd grade they ask for the fancy crayons when they're doing what they consider serious art.

Your Mommy Friend Lori said...

I could not love this idea more. Jessica, you are so great, I'm going to try this. And the pic with grandma is just priceless!

Anonymous said...

I've been thinking of how we could make them a little smaller...
It was fun and I think they would eventually understand how to use them. They watched me produce a picture so maybe just another lesson will get them going.

Hayley said...

Great idea, always up for new craft ideas.

Angela @ Nine More Months said...

Ikea has cheap silicone ice cube trays in hearts, starts, puzzle pieces and other fun shapes. I think they would be perfect for crayons!

Anonymous said...

Love those circle crayons, Jessica! Sounds like you had your hands full that morning and that crayons were just perfect for that day. Thanks for sharing this idea!

Anonymous said...

Loved the post. Great lessons for the kids. It has been a long time since I have melted crayons for my little girl, now 24. She used to love when we made them. I wonder if she remembers. She was around 2.

Glad I found your site. I liked the way you explained everything.

Julie Fitzsimmons said...

I'm with geggy... we made these when I was a kid, but we mixed all the colors together, so you nhad all the different colors in one crayon. I LOVED them! But, I remember them being a LOT smaller than the ones you made. I'll have to ask my mom what we used to make them (silicone definitely wasn't around back then!).