My dear friend, Dr. Steve Fairchild, is a retired professor from the early childhood education program at James Madison University. He taught an early childhood science class and shared some really cool experiments with me. One of them was with crayons. There are exciting ways to re-purpose crayons and integrate the arts with science.
One way to transform a batch of misfit crayons is to melt them into new things. I wanted to make chunky crayons for toddlers, and students with fine motor delays who have limited use of a 3-finger grasp or tripod. I took my friend’s recipe and melted crayons. I experimented with different methods. The first time I put crayons in the oven. The finished product was meh.
The second time I tried placing crayons in an ice cube tray to melt in the hot summer sun. Again, meh!
Then finally I contacted my friend Steve who told me about melting the crayons in a clean tin can (old soup can will do just the trick) over a pan filled with water. Voila! A beautiful hot can full of liquid wax! Pour the liquid mixture into a mold. I used old recycled plastic fruit cups. The crayons pop out easily after they are dried.
These homemade chunky crayons are a good alternative for children who are not ready to use their fingers to create a tripod grasp. The best part is the children can help you make them.