Breathe New Life Into Old Crayons

Here's your nightly math! Just 5 quick minutes of number fun for kids and parents at home. Read a cool fun fact, followed by math riddles at different levels so everyone can jump in. Your kids will love you for it.

Breathe New Life Into Old Crayons

June 9, 2014

As much as I love school supply shopping with my kids, I cringe when the boys come home on the last day of school with a giant mess of used items. The crumbled crayons, half-used notebooks, and pencils that have seen better days need a summer vacation themselves. I’m here to share hows to reuse those old crayon bits for new summer coloring fun.

Collect all of the old crayons that you that came home in backpacks and pencil cases and add in any you have around the house. Β Tell your kids they will be recycling the old crayons for this project.

Supplies:

• old crayon bits and pieces
• oven
• cupcake liners
• silicone molds or cupcake tins

Now that you have all of your crayons, group them by color. Next, peel any remaining wrappers off the crayons. This can get tedious, so you may want to spread it out over a few days. I found that running a pair of child scissors along the wrapper to split its seam helps to move things along.

Time for a little math while we wait for the oven to preheat to 315 degrees. Estimate which color has the most crayons. Count to see if you are right. If you have a kitchen scale, weigh each color group. Does the group with the greatest number of pieces weigh the most? A group that has two large pieces of crayon might have more mass than a group with eight small bits of crayon.

Brainstorm with the kids about what color crayons they want to make. They can be monochromatic (one color) or focus on a specific hue, or be a rainbow. There is no wrong answer, so have fun!

Fill your silicone molds to the top or cupcake tins half way with crayon pieces. The crayons will melt down into the shapes. Bake for 10-12 minutes until the crayons have melted. Once all of the crayons have melted, take them out to cool for half an hour. We put ours into the refrigerator for about 15 minutes to cool the wax faster.

Check out how the colors mixed. What happens if you break the crayons into smaller pieces (a fun excuse to bang a hammer or rolling pin) and bake? How does this change the way the colors combine? Have fun trying different changes the variables of color and size of the crayon pieces combinations and using these new crayons.

These crayons make for a unique coloring experience. They also make fun party favors and gifts for the start of the school year.

Speaking of melting and crayons, check out these Bedtime Math problems about the Color Factory and the delicious Meltdown.

Photo courtesy of Beth Levine.