We all know some crayon colors are more popular than others. The blue and red get used over and over, while the burnt sienna might not have much work to do. But what can you do with all the leftover little pieces? You can melt them down and make new crayons. As this page on instructables.com shows, crayons melt at just 275 degrees. So if you toss the stubs in a mini-muffin tin and bake them, they’ll melt and mix, giving you swirly, tie-dyed crayon chunks. The edges are sharp enough to draw thin lines, and if you want to switch to a different color, just flip the muffin over in your hand!
Wee ones: If you have red, orange, yellow, green and blue crayons, how many colors do you have?
Little kids: What colors do you see in the tie-dye crayon in the bottom right corner? Point to it! Bonus: If you use 3 new colors in each tin, how many colors will 3 muffin crayons use?
Big kids: The crayon muffins take up to 13 minutes to bake. If you start at 3:45 pm and bake them for 13 minutes, when do they finish? Bonus: If you need 8 pieces in each muffin cup, what’s the greatest number of complete crayon muffins you can make with 50 pieces?
The sky’s the limit: If you have blue, red, and purple crayon pieces, and in your 24-muffin tin you put blue in 1/2 of the cups, red in 1/3 of them, and purple in 1/4 of them, what’s the smallest number of crayon muffins that have to hold at least 2 different colors?
Wee ones: 5 colors.
Little kids: Mostly red, with 2 shades of green. Bonus: 9 colors.
Big kids: At 3:58 pm. Bonus: 6 crayon muffins: they will use 48 pieces, leaving 2 leftovers.
The sky’s the limit: 2 crayon muffins. The blue will go into 12 of the cups, and red can go into 8 of the other 12 cups. That leaves just 4 empty cups, but purple has to fill 6 cups, so there will be 2 that have to pair purple with either red or blue.
Laura Bilodeau Overdeck is founder and president of Bedtime Math Foundation. Her goal is to make math as playful for kids as it was for her when she was a child. Her mom had Laura baking before she could walk, and her dad had her using power tools at a very unsafe age, measuring lengths, widths and angles in the process. Armed with this early love of numbers, Laura went on to get a BA in astrophysics from Princeton University, and an MBA from the Wharton School of Business; she continues to star-gaze today. Laura’s other interests include her three lively children, chocolate, extreme vehicles, and Lego Mindstorms.