A Craft That Doubles as a Science Lesson
If you have children living under your roof, chances are high that you may have tons of old broken crayons lying around. These forgotten about art supplies can be remade quickly and easily into brand new crayons ready to be used again. Send your child on a mission to gather them all up from between the couch cushions, art supply drawers, and desktops. Once they have been found, follow these steps to breath new life into them.
This project can also turn into a mini science lesson if your child is inclined. Take the time to talk about the states of matter: liquid, solids, and gas. Each state of matter can change into the other one by applying heat or taking it away. An ice cube is a great way to get the discussion rolling—what happens when you leave the ice in the hot sun? What happens when liquid from the ice cube goes back into the freezer? This concept of change can be applied to this craft.
Have your child think about what state the crayons are in initially (solids), then ask them to guess what might happen when you apply heat to the crayon (melts to liquid), then follow that up by seeing what happens when you put the liquid crayons into the freezer (becomes a solid). Having your child experiment while making art is a great way to get them interested in key science concepts.
Gather the Materials
It doesn't take much work to repurpose your crayons, you should have most of these things already in your home.
- Muffin tray (silicon or metal)
- Oven and freezer
Break Apart Crayons and Sort by Color
First, start off by making sure that your crayons don't have any paper wrapped around them. The paper can interfere with the melting down the process. After the paper is peeled off, break the crayons into even smaller pieces. We recommend organizing the crayon bits by color so that children can pick and choose which ones they want to use.
Fill Muffin Tray with Crayons and Bake to Melt
Make sure an adult is around for this step before proceeding. Pre-heat your oven to 275 F. If you are using a silicon muffin tray as we did, place it on top of a baking sheet before it goes into the oven.
Select 1-3 colors of crayons to add to each mold and fill it to the top (or part-way if you want a slimmer crayon). Keep in mind that the colors may mix together and marble—so choose colors that complement each other.
Carefully place the tray into the oven and set a timer for 8-10 minutes. We recommend turning on the oven light so your child can watch the crayons melt. Once the crayons have melted to a liquid, carefully remove the tray from the oven using an oven mitt.
You can also melt the crayons in a microwave if your silicon tray is microwave safe. Set the timer for 5-7 minutes and watch the crayons melt carefully. Carefully remove from the microwave with an oven-mitt when done.
Freeze Melted Crayons
In order for the liquid crayons to harden into their new solid form, the tray needs to go into the freezer. The crayon wax will be really hot and putting it in the freezer will speed up the hardening process and cool the crayons down. If you do not want to speed up the process, or you want a child to watch the new crayons get hard over time - keep the tray out of reach but at eye level.
Pop New Crayons Out of Tray
Pop the new crayons out of the muffin tray carefully. If you don't wait until they are room temperature, or if they are still freezing when you try to pop them out, you risk having them break. We were excited to see what our crayons looked like coming directly out of the freezer—and one broke right away! Patience pays off with this quick craft. Have fun testing out your new crayons!