Crayon Cakes and Kitchen Science
Ever have those days when you just aren't sure what to do with your kiddos? I'm a teacher at heart and by training, but I don't feel obligated to have "teacherly things" planned every day for my kids. We are just as happy to get outside and get dirty, or use our imaginations. But sometimes, you kinda feel out of ideas and need something new. Today was one of those days.
I spend a lot of time in the kitchen with my girls. I love to cook and they love to help. They also love science experiments. So today we kinda mixed the two together. Enter crayon cakes. Now, initially my little bird was all excited over the idea of cake. I think she had chocolate on the brain! We headed to the dollar store to pick up big boxes of crayons for cheap, and she began to question the idea of crayon cake.
"Mummy, are we going to eat crayons?"
"No darling, not eat them, but we will bake them"
She looked perplexed. I love when I can see the wheels turning in my girls in my heads. They both pull a certain face that is all contemplation, with a little confusion thrown in for good measure.
We ended up bringing home four boxes of 48 count crayons for $4. Love the Dollar Store! I bought four because we've never made these before and I wasn't sure exactly how many I'd need. Four was more than enough and now we are stocked up to make them once this batch gets used up. I also picked up two $1 muffin tins, since I don't want to use my good tins for crafty purposes.
Both girls pitched in to help peel off the paper from EVERY crayon. Thankfully we decided that one box of 48 crayons was enough. My fingers were a bit sore by the end, but we made it through. Then we got out the muffin tin and had fun talking about shades of colors, naming colors outside the typical ROYGBIV scheme, and breaking crayons so they fit into the cups. This is also a great time to talk about warm and cool colors, neutral colors, and even take time to color the same picture shades of a certain color, or a warm/cool/neutral option.
FYI: I wasn't sure how easily the crayon cakes would come out, so I spray a titch of non-stick spray in the cups before we added the crayons.
We pre-heated the oven to 300 degrees and popped in our crayon cakes. Then of course, the oven light must go on and we simply sit and watch what happens! I thought this would be a great time to pull out little science journals, or even one for all of us, and write down our hypothesis of what we think will happen and why, then record results along the way, and note down our conclusions. This time around though I wasn't that well planned to have gotten all that ready in advance, so we just talked about. I love that my girls now make predictions and actually say, "I predict the rock at preschool will be painted green!" Makes my geeky, teacher heart all happy :)
Half way through I pulled them out to take a look at what was happening and revise our hypotheses.
After about 20 minutes or so (keep your eye on them as ovens can vary) we pulled them out completely melted and let them cool a bit on the stove. This would be a great time to add essential oils and create some aromatherapy crayons, or if you're brave, glitter.
Once they've cooled a bit you'll want to pop the tin into the freezer so the crayons set and also so they pop out easily. I left them in for a few hours and they pop out really nicely. These are great for rubbings and also for little hands. My little girls can palm them or tip them on the side to color. They loved seeing how the color changed depending on how they held it or how long they rubbed. Great for fall leaf rubbings!
Do you have other crafty crayon ideas to share? I've got three more boxes around here somewhere. Share a comment, a picture, a link, and your love!