I bet you never knew

that a preschool learning activity is also recycling! Bonus points if you did know.

One of my all time favorite activities from my days as a preschool teacher was taking broken crayons (Leftolas) and melting them into custom crayons. How it works is you get all the broken crayons together - and believe me, with 15 littles aged 2-5, you're GOING to have broken crayons - and then sort them by color family. Take a paper (not plastic!) cup - waxed preferred, put each kid's name on a cup and let them put their favorite colors in the cup. Then, you put the cups on a cookie sheet, toss it in the oven @ 350 for 4 or 5 minutes or so. When they're done, you take the whole affair out, open all the windows and doors to air out the room and then wait for them to cool. Once they've cooled, peel the cups off and there you have it: little crayon disks.

So when Crayola came out with the Crayon Maker toy back in 2002, I wanted one so badly I could taste it. But I wasn't going to part with my hard earned money ($25 or so) for a glorified Easy Bake Oven for crayons. This past Christmas, the local Fabric Mega Store had the "new" version which only made MINI crayons for $30 that I coulda got for 50% off, but who wants MINI crayons???? If  I  my kids wanted mini crayons, they'd color with the broken ones, ya know? So when I hit my local Goodwill this week, what did my wondering eyes spy but the 2002 model for $4.99?! SCORE!!! 60 watt candelabra bulb included!

So this afternoon, the girls and I sat on the dining room floor and peeled all the leftolas and started up the crayon maker. And there were quite a few little leftolas to peel!

After one round of heating, the glitter/metallic Crayolas didn't want to melt, so I cranked it for a second round to get them nice and warm and melty. The standard Crayolas melted just fine, though. The only hitch to this wondrous contraption is that you MUST use Crayola brand crayons. And I'm fine with that. I'm a bit of a crayon snob anyhow. I refuse to use anything BUT Crayola crayons. They've got the smoothest feel and the deepest pigment of any brand. And getting a pack of 8 for 12¢ on clearance just can't be beat.

Observations from the Peanut Gallery:

Oldest Daughter: So changing the ingredients changes the melt time! Even though the are the same brand, the melt times are different because the metallic ones have an added ingredient! COOL!

1 comment:

CACHANILLA73 said...

Loooooveee your blog, you are so creative!!!