If you have young kids that did virtual learning in 2020/2021 like mine, you probably have an inordinate amount of broken crayons in your house. I had a Transitional Kindergartner and a 1st grader this year (plus a toddler who loves to color,) and I cannot tell you how many boxes of crayons I bought. (On a side note - I actually recently found that these crayons last a lot longer because they do not break.) Now that the school year is coming to an end, here is an excellent summer activity for those well-used Crayolas.
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1. Gather the crayons. We have a ziplock bag with all of our old crayons, but I also sent kids on a scavenger hunt around the house for any rogue crayons. They had a great time checking the couch cushions, looking to see if any rolled under the bookshelf, and searching through drawers. And, a plus for mommy, no more crayons in random places.
2. Remove the paper. This was an excellent quiet activity. The kids sat there taking all the paper off for probably 15 minutes while the baby took a nap. Ahh, momentary peace.
3. Now place the crayons in any type of oven safe mold. I had bought a star tray online which I thought was silicone...but guess what? It was plastic. Darn. So, I just used a muffin tin. If you use cupcake liners you will get a cool little design around the edges. We tried to get a different mix of colors in each space. Check out some silicone molds below.
4. Heat. I've seen quiet a few different temps and times to heat these crayons. Basically they all work, you just want to leave the crayons in until they melt. We did 275 in the toaster over 15-20 minutes. You could increase the temp if you want them done quicker.
5. Let sit until they harden again. We actually left to go to Grammie's house tight after they came out of the oven so I didn't have to hear on repeat, "Are they done yet?"
6. When we got home we popped them out. Most came out surprisingly easily. If any are a little stuck, just run a knife around the edge.
The kids just loved how these came out, and they are so much easier to store than all the broken crayons. Additionally, if you have really young toddlers you can make crayons that are easier for them to hold. For example, I know my kids started with egg shape crayons when they were around one years old, so if you have any egg molds from Easter you can make them for free. Finally, this can also be an activity used to discuss recycling- making something new from something old instead of creating more trash. I bet you could even make some green and blue ones that look like the Earth! If anyone does this, send me a picture! I also found this little craft if you are looking to make something with your paper crayon wrappers.