This time of year tends to bring a slowing down and regenerating for many of us. When living in an area engulfed in frigid air and snow, while beautiful to look at, it can also can squelch our creative mojo. Especially if you put toddlers into the mix. Being stuck indoors for days on end is enough for cabin fever to spread through the house and create more damage than the full fledge flu.
So how do we combat the natural consequence of lots of downtime for both us and the kids? We bring them into the creative process and enjoy the messy ride! I am sure you have noticed how much kids love to do things they “aren’t supposed to do”.
(Side note) For example, have you ever caught a kid trying to snatch sweets? Having as many boys as we do, we see this A LOT. My third son has been the worst, because he is a “snacker”. One night when he was around 4, I sent him to bed and prepared for a movie night. After the movie, I went upstairs to check on him. When I reached his room, he looked so cold! He was mostly out from under the covers and was slightly shivering. I gently picked up the blanket to pull over his little body, and, lo and behold, I found two containers of ice cream (half eaten) with a spoon and my cell phone were tucked under the blankets. (Now, every parent faces these situations…..the hard part is figuring out if you need to discipline said child or take a picture and laugh about it.) We chose to laugh about it and texted our whole family so they could join in the joy of childhood funnies.
Back to the art stuff….
The point is, sometimes kids need to be a little risky and do things we would prefer they do at school. But, I want to share with you how rewarding it is to bring them into our creative art process. It’s amazing what they can do when we release the reigns a bit.
A couple easy projects that are good to fill a long day is to re-use broken crayons to create art! I have two different projects to share with you.
Melted Crayon Art on Dictionary Pages
1) First off, kids love to make personalized art. This is where the dictionary pages come into play. Have them decide on an animal or object they would like to draw, find the subject in the dictionary and rip the page out gently.
2) Show them where the word is on the page so they can draw the object near the word. This also is a great way to sneak some teaching in. For older kids, this is a fun way to demonstrate how to read a dictionary and alphabetize.
3) Take a hairdryer and warm the page, being careful not to touch the paper to the heating element. At our house, I allow the pre-school and kindergarten age kids to help with this, because they love to do big things!
4) Begin coloring on the page starting with the lighter colors and then moving to dark. Keep the hairdryer nearby blowing to keep the page warm. You will need to stagger how closely you keep the hairdryer to the page, because at this point, it can be very warm on your hands. Exercise caution! It is fun to draw with warm, melting crayons. The color is more vibrant and spreads super easily.
5) Once done, let the page cool and you are ready to add any other details, words, verses, etc…
Broken Crayon CPR
How many of you have a container full of crayons that have snapped and broken, leaving them unwanted and abandoned? It seems like we keep them around, unable to throw them out, yet no one wants to use them! So how about another time filler for those cold winter days?
1) Start by feeling awesome because you are not wasting these cute ‘lil crayons! After you have given yourself a pat on the back, begin the task of removing the labels off the crayons. (This is a good task for the kids!)
2) Break the crayons and place in the pan of your choice. I used a non-stick, mini muffin tin. Since it was non-stick, I did not need to use cooking spray. If you are using a different type of pan, it is suggested to spray with cooking spray first. Let the kids make creative combinations allowing for super cool results.
3) Once the pan is ready, place in an oven heated to 275° for about 8 mins. Keep an eye on it! You will smell them when they are heating too long!
4) When the crayons have melted into a liquid, carefully remove and let cool in a safe spot away from little hands. When your pan is cool enough, place the whole pan in the freezer. This step makes the crayons come out easily.
5) Geek out with the kids at the cool crayons you made and let them go to town! *BONUS! These make fun blocks for your little ones also! Score!
Another cool discovery is that while your kids are playing with their new crayons, you can use the melted crayon technique to Bible Journal! Right now, I am journaling in a Holman Women’s Study Bible with thin pages. (Hopefully, I can score a Journaling Bible with interleaved pages soon!) The crayon technique is visible on the back page, but does not bleed to subsequent pages.
Let me know if you try this technique out! I would love to see pictures of your work! Blessings to you on these cold days!!