By Angie Howard
Praise the Lord crayons are non-toxic. My 3-year-old budding artist has undoubtedly snacked on what would surely amount to at least a full box worth of Crayolas during various art sessions. I think eating colors may in some odd way be part of his creative process; either that or he just likes the taste of them.
Truth be told, when I first discovered his fetish of crayon snacking, I was relieved the answer was simply that he had eaten some crayons. One afternoon I was busy typing on the laptop in our living room while he was quietly coloring at the kitchen bar. After a bit, he came running to find me - his big mouth open wide to flash garishly bright red teeth with red slobber to match. I thought for sure he had bitten his tongue off and was bleeding so badly that it sent him into shock, explaining why he wasn't yet screaming and crying hysterically. Well, not quiteâ€¦
In a near panic, I managed to eek out the words, "What happened to you baby?" and with a brilliant red beaming smile, he casually replied, "I colored my mowff."
On a wave of relief tinged with irritation, I then proceeded to ask my creative child, "Why on earth did you color your mouth?"
"Because I did."
"Because you did???"
"Yeah!" With deliberate effort, he smiled brightly again to show off his artwork. I took a picture to preserve the masterpiece before we went to brush clean his "canvas" with our Dora and Diego training toothpaste.
If you have children, I'll lay odds you also have a shoebox of crayons crammed somewhere in a closet or drawer. And upon looking in that box of crayons, I'd feel equally safe to bet that nearly every one of them is broken at least in half if not into smaller bits.
Recently, I discovered that most of my kid's crayons had gotten the point they were so small and chubby that little toddler hands couldn't quite grasp them any longer, but my "don't throw anything away" nature wouldn't let me toss the color shards out. Rather than contributing our well-worn Crayolas to Conway's landfill we decided to have some fun with them and play "crayon scientists," recycling them in our very own kitchenâ€¦and it was fun to do!
For those of you who may be interested in Crayola recycling, too, here's how we did it:
First, we picked out all the tiny crayons too small to color with any longer and tore off any paper wrappings left on the colors.
Next, I let my boys sort the crayon pieces into semi-coordinating hues so when I melted the crayons the colors would still be nice and bright.
After my boys sorted, I then fired up a large stock pot about 1/3 full of water, heating the water to a boil. Once boiling, I took the pot off the heat.
Using aluminum cans with the tops cut off as little cups, I placed the cups in the hot water bath and filled them with the piles we made of sorted colors so they would melt (using one can cup per sorted pile).
After each group of similar colors melted, I poured the liquid crayons into some candy molds and old ice cube trays that were "fun shapes" (you can get these at most dollar and discount stores).
Finally, after sitting out on the kitchen counter, the crayons' wax will solidify so you can pop the new crayons loose from the trays!
Tah-dah! Custom-made crayons in great shapes perfect for coloring pages (or mouths if you live in my house) once again!