Can science and art be combined into a fun summer activity? Absolutely! Give me some broken crayon pieces and a muffin tin, and I’ll give you an afternoon of educational entertainment that will wow the kids and the kids at heart.
We started today’s activity by peeling the paper off our collection of old and broken crayons. Omelette asked Roostler if he wanted to join in. Not being the kind of guy to participate in such an activity, he declined. Five minutes later, he was down on the floor with us cutting the paper with a knife — because he is the kind of guy to come up with a better way to solve a problem. (Up to that point, we had just been using our fingernails.)
After each cut, he tossed the crayon to one of us to pull the paper off, and we found ourselves in a game of dodge the crayon. We all had a good laugh at this frivolity and enjoyed an even heartier one when Roostler compared the pile of crayon bits to rainbow poop. (And to think that he didn’t want to join in on the fun.)
With our crayons freshly peeled, we were ready to sort them into smaller piles of similar color (though Early Bird had her own organizational system going). These piles were then transferred into a pre-greased muffin tin. (We broke the pieces down into smaller bits to make sure all would fit.)
Then, I loaded the tin into a 300-degree oven.
This project was something of an experiment for me, but I could not have predicted the enjoyment the kids got out of watching the crayons melt. They were mesmerized. As we sat in front of the oven (not the TV!), Omelette and I talked about the difference between chemical and physical changes. Before I even asked, she correctly identified the melting process before us as a physical change!
After the crayons melted, I cleared the kids out of the kitchen and pulled the tin out to cool. Then, I put on a colorful Beatles CD and let them run circles around the living room to Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds and Yellow Submarine. They were having so much fun, they almost forgot about the crayons!
Almost, but not quite. As soon as they saw the finished product, they were ready to color.
I put some tape in the shape of letters on pieces of construction paper for the kids to color over. Then, when the pages were filled with color, I carefully removed the tape to reveal their creations!
Who knew crayons could be so much fun? I certainly didn’t. Nor did I realize how much fun any of our activities this week would be. I was just hoping to keep the kids out of my hair, but I’ve found myself getting my hands dirty right along with them. I’m looking forward to next week’s Summer Fun!