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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Kids Craft: Recycled Crayons

recycled crayons

Much like home-made play dough, I must admit, this is an activity I enjoy as much as Ana does, maybe even more :)

There is something very satisfying about fulfilling a simple request as, "I think my play dough paapaa would like green and pink hair today, Amma" when Ana rediscovers her Play Dough Salon set I like to hide (among other toys) in turns and bring them out every few months or so to keep things fresh.

Nothing fancy about this activity - it's not really a craft, technically - but it is something 3 or 4 year olds might enjoy doing with their parents. Much like egg coloring. And, since we were stuck at home with flu-like symptoms for a few days recently, I thought this might cheer us up. And it did.

Now that Og has taken to coloring a lot, crayons seems to get broken easily. Perfectly good crayons with lots of color and life, but, no good grip for the wee hands that are still working on fine motor skills.

Being a non-thrower-of-things-easily, I had dedicated a small cookie tin for collecting all these bits so I could melt and remake them.

Ana helped peel the wrappers from the crayons - after I scored with a knife and started it for her. Then, break into smaller bits and pile them color-wise.

At this point, we can keep them grouped by color and melt and remake each color, or mix-and-match colors. Which is what Ana likes to do, as do I. We use an old mini-muffin pan for this - drop the bits of crayons into the mini muffin molds in the muffin pan.

Then, simply heat it in a 350°F oven for about 7-8 minutes - just till it melts. Adjust heat and time for other molds. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. Then pop them off the muffin pan.

If oven is not handy, melt it in a double-boiler, like melting chocolate - in a boiling water bath. And, if we want to retain the colors and not mix them, then maybe melt each color group in its own little vessel in the boiling water bath and pour into molds. Can use various shaped molds - like starfish or sea horse or teddy bear or flower - even just ice-cube tray.

These molded multi-color crayons are so much fun to use for leaf rubbing that seems to have become Ana's favorite activity this Fall. (Leaf rubbing post to come soon)

Plus, when kids aren't looking, I take these multi-colored crayons and go crazy in their coloring books, prepared to feign ignorance when confronted :)



At 5:58 AM, Blogger ChoxBox said...

Awesome Sheels!

At 8:06 AM, Blogger Reva said...

You are a warehouse of ideas Sheela.. Amazing :) I must take notes..

Can you post some of Oggie's creations? On a related note, when is a good time to introduce C to colouring?

At 9:42 AM, Blogger Sheela said...

Thanks, 'senior cohort' er... Chox! I love riling you about it :)

::Reva:: I was actually looking at old pics of Ana and now of Og coloring - will do a post of Og's stuff - I must remind myself - I take so much for granted with Og :)

Reva, each child is different, so, it is good to try it and if it doesn't work, just wait a few weeks, try it again - you never know when they are ready for it... take cues from them.

With Ana and Og, from about 12-months or so when they could sit still in a spot for more than 5 minutes I introduced them to crayons - first, I would draw cat, mouse, elephant etc with the crayons to catch their interest; then, they would get excited and grab the crayon from me and start chicken scratching... then, I'd do shapes - heart, square, triangle etc. to teach them shapes - and they'd attempt the same - so it started as an awareness of crayons as a tool for representing familiar things and then it took off as its own activity.

Hope that helps...

At 10:47 PM, Blogger Swapna Raghu Sanand said...

It is an awesome idea. Hats off to you!

At 7:16 AM, Blogger ChoxBox said...


At 8:52 AM, Blogger Sheela said...

::Swapna:: Thanks! I must clarify that this is not an original idea :)

::Chox:: Sense of humor - what would life be without it, eh?! :)

At 3:16 PM, Blogger Tharini said...

So cute!


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