Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Flower Crayons

Ellie's best friend Josie is having a birthday today. In anticipation, we decided to make her a gift. Ellie needed a project to do, and I needed to come up with something quickly. So here's what we came up with... Flower Crayons!

Here's how it works... Take the pile of broken crayons you've accumulated and peel off the wrappers. Then cut the crayons into smaller pieces that will fit into the pan you've chosen. This part should be done by an adult, though kids could break the thinner crayons into smaller pieces.

FlickrDroid Upload

We chose a Wilton silicone pan (I love those things!) with flower shapes for this one. We also have these pans with gingerbread men and hearts, so I think this would be fun to repeat for various holiday gifts. Here's what our pan looks like:

FlickrDroid Upload

Have your kiddo put the crayons into the pan. Colors can be combined for solid color crayons, or varied for a designed look. Ellie had a lot of fun with this part!

FlickrDroid Upload

Here's what they looked like before we popped them in the oven:

FlickrDroid Upload

Put them in the oven at 275 degrees.

FlickrDroid Upload

Then wait 7-8 minutes, or until they're melted.

FlickrDroid Upload

Have your kids back up from the oven, then take out the melted crayons, very carefully! I recommend using a cookie sheet under your pan, especially if you use a flexible silicone pan like I did. When you pull them out, they'll look something like this:

FlickrDroid Upload

As they cool, you might notice them looking cloudy and muted. The vibrant colors seemed to sink to the bottom, while the waxy layer floated to the top. It may have just been the crayons I used (though I used a mixture of them, so who knows), but here's what they looked like as they cooled:

FlickrDroid Upload

When they are COMPLETELY cool (putting them in the fridge seemed to help little minds forget that they were waiting for the crayons to be cooled, and helped the process go faster - out of sight, out of mind?), pop them out of the mold and you've got something like this:

FlickrDroid Upload

Because we were giving some of these as a gift, I discovered that they fit perfectly in the long skinny bags Wilton makes for wrapping large pretzel sticks. We could easily fit 5 of these crayons in one sleeve, with room to tie the top or put a topper on it.

FlickrDroid Upload

It was a fun project, and it didn't take long from start to finish, or make a big mess in the process. That's my kind of project to do with Eliana!!

This last year we have been working on the idea of gift giving with Eliana. I generally purchase kids' gifts ahead of time and store them in the "gift bucket" in our gift wrapping closet. I find that I can stock up on kid appropriate gifts when I see them at a good price, and then I don't have to rush around to find a gift right before the party. Because of this, Eliana is not usually part of the gift buying experience, though, so I've been trying to work on teaching her about gifts without changing the way I approach them. So... for every party we go to, she also gets to pick out or make a gift for the child. Sometimes (in the fall, when several of her friends have birthdays clustered together) it means we take a trip to the dollar store and she gets to pick out a special gift for each of her friends just from her. I more or less give her free reign here, because 1) it's a buck, and 2) she needs to feel like the gift is actually from her. The rules are that she has to pick something appropriate for the child (a princess wand wouldn't be appropriate for a boy who is into trucks, for example) and she has to have the understanding that this gift is for THEM, not her. She doesn't get to keep it. I do, however, let her pick one thing for herself when we are buying a group of gifts at the same time. I probably don't need to, but it helps her not get distracted by all the things she wants when she has to pick several things for other kids, and also rewards her for being thoughtful to her friends.

If we just have one party to go to, or haven't bought Ellie's gift, I like to have her make a gift for her friend, like the one above. We spend the time talking about why giving gifts is kind, choosing the nicest ones for her friend and keeping the flawed ones for herself, etc.

I also have Eliana make a batch of birthday cards a couple times a year. I thought I posted the batch of cards she made this fall, but I can't find them, so I guess I didn't. It's about time for us to make more, though, since she is out of them. Perhaps we'll do that today. I like having her make the cards for her friends, and then practice writing their name and her name inside. It's not always legible, but I want her to get it into her head that it's from her. =D It's also good writing practice for her, since I am not nearly as consistent with writing practice as I'd like to be.

So there you have it. A tutorial on how to make flower crayons, and my theories on gift giving, all in one! =D Almost makes up for no posts in April, eh? Okay, maybe not. Still, I hope you enjoyed it!! Thanks for reading!!