I had Elliott help me sort out the broken (and bitten, from Emory's "mouthing" stage) crayons, and peel the paper off...great fine motor work for his little fingers...and we sorted by colors, pulling out Halloween and Autumn colors. This was also great for noticing slight differences in color shades, as something that looked orange to him while he was peeling the paper would actually go in his red pile in the end. Not all of the crayons still had their wrappers when we started, so we also had to mark the darker crayons on paper to distinguish between purple and black...this was all very interesting to him!
I did pull the mom card and wait until the boys were in bed for the melting part. I had saved a few tin cans instead of worrying about cleaning up muffin tins. I just put the cans in boiling water and the crayons melted rather quickly.
I've come across a few different versions of crayon melting, but everybody seemed to use muffin tins to melt them, and then poured them into silicone molds. I don't particularly need a dozen crayons of the same design (unless I was doing this for one of their classes at church, which is an idea to think about), so I used Halloween themed cookie cutters. We picked them up on clearance a few years ago, but we don't really bake a lot of cookies, so these had never even been opened. I picked out the 2 leaves, the pumpkin, the cat and the bat. I put wax paper on a cookie sheet, and set the cookie cutters out.
I had to wait a few minutes between layers on the leaves (or the colors would swirl together, which also looked neat!) but after everything was poured into the cookie cutters, I popped the cookie sheet in the freezer for a few minutes to harden the wax. The new crayons popped right out!
I never did use the brown or the green crayon pieces (I'll save those for gingerbread men and Christmas trees if we do this again), but I had extra red and yellow already melted, so I made an apple and a moon too. My moon bubbled a little bit, but otherwise I thought they turned out nice for my first try!
Upon inspecting each crayon, Elliott promptly put the bat across his chest and proclaimed to be Batman! I was waiting for that.
My intention was to do a few leaf rubbings, but the boys were content to do their own thing. Emory experimented with the new crayons, but he seemed to prefer the
So even though the end result was not what I had in mind, the kids enjoyed the new crayons and really, that's what matters.