A few years ago, after purchasing a box of crayons only to discover that everyone of them was missing a tip, I learned how to recycle them. The idea of melting down a crayon is actually, when you think about it, rather practical and ingenious.
The first time I ever tried to do it I apparently melted down colors that, when blended together, formed the ugliest shade of brown. After a few more tries, and a lot of fun, the colors started to improve and the kids had a ball collecting old pieces and watching them transform into new life. As simple as recycled crayons are, they do teach a great lesson to young children about the power of reusing something that has not yet reached the end of it’s usefulness and viability.
I try, as much as possible, to not limit my children’s joy of the holidays. Even though I often feel caught up in the chaotic pace of this time of year, I also remember the amount of joy that my parents created for me each season, and I know that there is much happiness to be found amidst the frenzy. One thing that I do hold to be important is that the boys make their own gifts. As of yet the conversation of shopping for a present has not come up, which I am eternally grateful for, but I know the day is coming.
This year, the boys decided on recycled crayons in the shapes of evergreen trees and snowflakes, and gingerbread people and stockings as gifts. They each wanted to put together a few “art kits” that included the crayons, handmade sketch books or puzzle books (more on this later), and paper that, as we speak, is drying on the dining room table.
Over the Thanksgiving holiday the boy’s were delighted to have their cousins visiting from Maryland. Savannah, Jacob and Elwood spent many an hour creating in my kitchen, and the large autumn crayons that they made were a hit with everyone. Using Wilton molds that I found buried deep in my pantry (have you ever had a situation where your shelves were so crowded that you climbed up to get something, everything fell and hit you in the head, and then something that you never thought you would use all of a sudden has a purpose? These are my silicone molds), we made crayons in the shapes of pumpkins and leaves. The colors came out awesome, the molds make popping the crayons out a blast, and they are easy to clean up.
We moved on to the holiday molds soon after, and now we have everything ready to give as gifts to all of the boy’s friends. The crayons have been packaged in muslin bags and hand stamped for some flair, and the kits will be tied together and delivered in the coming weeks. I made sure that we made enough to have some left over to use for holiday fun, and I hope that it is okay to admit that I enjoy coloring with them as much as the boys do.
As a bit of a secret (this is probably a very commonly used trick, but humor me in thinking that I came up with something cool), these crayons are wonderful in creating background on paper. The flat surface of the crayon provides a smooth look to the paper, and does not come out too dark. The boys love the multi-colored effect that it has, and they used the crayons to create many of the “blank” pages in their journals.
It is an easy craft, a fun way to spend an afternoon cleaning out your art closet or basket, and a great lesson in sustainability. Really, is there much more that we could ask for in a holiday gift?