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Sunday, February 21, 2010

A rainy day project that was fun and didn't destroy my house! (crayon melts)

We've been making our way through the rainy-day project list, and with the slightly horrifying 10-day forecast showing nothing but rain, we might just get all the way through the list this week. I think (with the oh-so-notable exception of my shaving cream fiasco) all of the activities have been really successful.

Here's the latest one we tried: Crayon Melts, as suggested by Alli. This was lots of fun, super easy, and had NO cleanup. First we dug all the old, broken crayons out of the bottom of our crayon bowl, which thrilled me to the bottom of my thrifty little heart. Then Ro and Ree peeled the crayons (there was some grumbling and complaining from the girlies when this took a little longer than they expected, but secretly I was all for anything that kept them in their seats and quiet for any length of time).

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We broke the crayons into the smallest pieces we could and threw them randomly into silicone baking cups. (Note: We got these cute flower ones from the dollar bin at Target yesterday, but you could use any silicone shapes or foil cupcake liners, just don't use the paper ones.) DSC_1788LR

We preheated the oven to 250 degrees, then baked our little cups for about 10 minutes. (Ok, ok, actually we did about 15 minutes, but don't do that. We overbaked them a little and a bunch of the colors ran together and made sludge. See how the tops are all one color? So seriously, check them at 10 minutes and then keep an eye on them. You want things to be melty but not pure liquid.)



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Then we left them on the counter to cool and get hard again. (At this point we went upstairs to try round 2 of the rainy day shaving cream project, which was in the bathtub this time, and I STILL failed at it. Sigh. More on that later.)

Once the crayon melts were cool and not squishy, the girls popped them out of the molds, and woohoo, we had multicolored crayons in neat shapes!:


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The resulting crayon melts were cool and fun, and the girls immediately started fighting because they both wanted the same ones. (If I hadn't made any sludgy ones I bet we wouldn't have had this problem...) So we played the Hide Fingers game (that's how we solve all disagreements lately, just hide a certain number of fingers behind your back and whoever guesses the right number gets to choose first) and Ree got first pick.

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Then they ran off to test out their new multicolored crayons at the art table. These are going to make really cute school-friend gifts for the next holiday. Yes it's true, I'm one of those mean ogre moms who refuses to bring candy for the school gift bags—I don't have anything against sweets (I guess that's obvious if you spend any time with me), it's just that I figure it's the parents' jobs to sugar up their own kids.

~~~~ PS: Wondering what went wrong with that rainy day shaving cream project this time? Well... keeping last time's fiasco in mind, this time I got only one can for each girl, set up the dry bathtub with non-slip mats and a little plastic bench to use as a table, restricted the number of implements, had the girls remove any clothes that would be a pain to get off later, and sealed the bathtub curtain shut with those little suction cup thingamajigs. Sounds foolproof, right?

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Yeah... Not so much.... I handed them the stuff and prepared to relax. And that was pretty much the last time I sat down for the next hour. They liked it. Really they did. DSC_1794LR

I think they just liked it too much. They were so active and that shaving cream got flung around so jubilantly that I was constantly jumping up and getting shaving cream out of eyes.
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And then, once they were done, I still had a hard time cleaning them up, even though they were already in the tub:
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Turns out two cans was still too much—I needed a power wash to get that foamy stuff off them and down the drain. My wimpy little spray nozzle head was just not up to the task. So the poor girls stood there shivering while I slooooooooooowly got them and the bathtub (relatively) clean and then drew a nice warm bath. Hmmm. I guess I'm admitting failure on this one. I still think this project would work really well with kids who weren't so enthusiastic about completely immersing themselves and their siblings in the shaving cream—you know, kids who weren't Ro and Ree. Heh heh.

47 comments:

  1. Anonymous2/21/2010

    So, what do they do with melted crayon at the art table?

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  2. Um... coloring? What else would they do with it?

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  3. love the crayon idea-- will have to try that one!

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  4. Love that! And love the multicolored flowers you made. I'd be stuck at the starting gate not knowing what to put the crayon bits into!

    We're having a rainy morning here and P has been exTREMEly quiet for a long time working on one of those "Funfusion" bead projects. Where you put plastic beads in a pattern and then an adult irons it into a solid shape. She loooooves them. And they aren't that expensive - we got our's at a dollar store.

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  5. Just a thought, is all that stuff (all at once) going to ruin your pipes? At school, we don't use that much for each kid. That is A LOT of stuff.

    Just wondering.

    Sharyn

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  6. we love melting crayons. we go to the goodwill and find different shaped muffin tins and use those. I never thought about school gifts, thanks for the idea. Thanks again....YOU KNOW I am with you on the shaving cream problem.

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  7. The crayon project looks like a good one....I also love your bargain find at Target.....those cups are the cutest!! I am going to add this project to my rainy day list for sure...... I am not brave enough for the shaving cream project!!

    Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

    Lisa

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  8. Oh- one more thing. You could take the crayons and shave them into small parts. Then have the girls sprinkle the shavings on paper and the iron paper. I haven't done it in awhile so you might want to look it up but I think you might need wax paper or something. I just remember the end result is pretty cool! My Pre-school class use to love it.

    Sharyn

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  9. Anonymous2/21/2010

    I was having a tough time picturing holding a flower the size of their hand and coloring. I guess I need to visually see the process of coloring and the end product.

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  10. I like the crayon idea to give in gift bags.
    We buy this foam soap the you spray out just like the shaving cream, but it's no tears soap. It gets the kids clean, doesn't sting, and washes down the drain easily. We get packs of 2 or 3 cans at W@lmart for just a couple bucks. Maybe that will give the girls the same sort of fun without all the fuss.(?)

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  11. Re: the shaving cream... we use it in the tub, with water in the tub (so the end result is, obviously, a bath) and *I* dole it out into hands and onto the ledge of the tub... still just as entertaining for my boys but WAY less mess.

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  12. Anon: Ah! Got it. I wasn't sure what you meant on that one. For the coloring, the flower petals were actually really easy to grip. They just held the them sideways and used whatever color they wanted.

    Sweet Potato Pi: Isn't the dollar store AWESOME?!!! Love that place. We have three near us and I think they all know me (and the rowdy girls) by now because I give the girls each a hand basket and five dollars and let them get whatever they want. It takes them about an hour to decide and is so fun.

    Chinamama: No worries on the shaving cream, because that stuff dissolved when I finally got the water on it and it didn't go anywhere until I hit it with the water. With my lame shower nozzle, it just took awhile to get water on all of it. The Goop is the project where I had to be really careful and not just dump it down the sink. That one got plenty of rinsing with the pipes in mind. And thanks for the shavings idea--we'll try that one next!

    Metaphase: Thanks for the tip! If I get brave enough to venture into foamy project territory again, we'll try that stuff!

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  13. We do the shaving cream thing a lot. However (and granted my kidlet is younger), I put a smallish pile in the middle of one of those tossable cookie sheets (we've moved onto a 9x13 tossable - higher sides!). She just uses her fingers and hands to draw pictures. Barely messy, but oh-so much fun!

    Also, I read somewhere where they added a bit of tempra paint to the pile of shaving cream, letting the kid mix and then 'paint'.

    I look at shaving cream as another finger paint medium. I feel so bad for you trying to clean ALL that up! Eek!

    Good luck with the rain,
    Kiy

    P.S. Love the crayon melt idea, filing that away for the future for sure!

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  14. Anonymous2/21/2010

    We use the shaving cream that is blue and turns white as you work with it. I spray it on the sides of the tub, we have a big jet tub. I just set the rules and say no throwing or we are done and stick to that. You could do the same with that canned whipped topping which I imagine would dissolve faster. I also give them washcloths and encourage them to clean the tub for me. Makes it easier to get the residue down the drain because it breaks it up. I give them cups to splash the stuff down.

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  15. How about just turning on the shower? Then they can continue their play in cleaning up... filling up cups and dribbling the water down the walls, etc.... That's how we play the shaving foam game..

    Your crayons look great. We did this and had no such luck, could be cheapo crayons to start with? Ended up with bright colorful new crayon shapes that left smears all over little fingers ( and clothes) and didn't really color all that well...

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  16. At school I only give each child one "snowball" of shaving cream--we spread it on our desks and use it to practice writing in, etc. Then each child is able to clean their own desk with a sponge. All I need to do is stand at the sink and rinse out sponges as needed. I did the crayon melts in a silicon tray of 8 hearts--I used pinks, oranges, yellows, and purples--these were a fun addition to our Valentine treat bags.

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  17. We have done the crayon melting thing several times. A big hit every time!

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  18. At school I only give each child one "snowball" of shaving cream--we spread it on our desks and use it to practice writing in, etc. Then each child is able to clean their own desk with a sponge. All I need to do is stand at the sink and rinse out sponges as needed. I did the crayon melts in a silicon tray of 8 hearts--I used pinks, oranges, yellows, and purples--these were a fun addition to our Valentine treat bags.

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  19. Anonymous2/21/2010

    love the crayons....try filling muffin tins with shaving cream and adding food coloring (in the tub, with water for a bath) then get those big fat kids paint brushes and let them paint the walls, each other...

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  20. Anonymous2/21/2010

    Funny you wrote about crayon melts because my daughet got a heart shaped one for her valentines party from a classmate! Very cute and I was wondering how to make them!
    Thanks

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  21. I think you just need to go for the shaving cream activity as an outside activity- then send them out into the rain to wash it off.


    I love the crayon idea. I will have to start saving the broken bits.

    Love to you,
    Deb

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  22. Wow, fun times. Love the crayon-melt. The shaving cream arena....we'll see!

    Thanks for sharing all your great ideas.

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  23. Anonymous2/21/2010

    I hate to admit that I have to ask but who is who? Is Ree the Harley Mama with the bandana wrapped around the top of her head?

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  24. cool Crayons M3 ~ can't wait to try this with my leftover crayons and what an awesome idea for school holidays instead of food!! Did the silicone cups clean up ok...or are they now to be used with crayons only?

    I wonder if you used the travel sized cans of shaving cream...and maybe goggles? But you'd still have to clean those but at least it wouldn't get in their eyes?!?

    bet they had a BLAST!! you and tubadad are such cool parents! love it!

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  25. Ok, loving the "snowball sized" idea, and also using travel sized cans and/or goggles!! Ooooo, I just might get brave enough to try this again. You never know what kind of crazy I can work myself up to when it's raining nonstop and TubaDad's traveling...!

    And sorry, I should have mentioned who was who -- Ro is wearing the doo-rag (it's a neat silk headband-shaped thing that she likes because she can put it on herself) and Ree is wearing the star headband, and then later Ree is wearing the short-sleeved summer PJs and Ro is wearing the long-sleeved stripey PJs.

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  26. I have been a lurker a long long time. Love reading about your adorable girls. I've got two of my own, boys - age 4 and 2, both born in Vietnam. I am de-lurking because I just had to tell you that I love the rainy day ideas. The shaving cream is one of our favorites. I first tried it out when Ben was sick and it made him feel A LOT better. I will admit, the first time they weren't in the bath together but when they are well, I let them do it together. And, they are crazy for it. I definitely do it in the bath water and clean up involved draining the tub and a quick rinse. To add to the fun, I brought in the food coloring. Makes for great experiments. Thanks for all the great ideas.

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  27. Anonymous2/21/2010

    thanks for letting us know who is who. I don't think I'll ever get it right!!

    I've taught many twins before and do really well but boy, those two fool me ;-)

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  28. I have been looking for the crayon recipe, so thanks for posting. We have lots of broken crayons and I bet our girls would love coloring with all the different colors mixed together. I am going to Target to see if I can find those cute cups in the $ aisle. Love the $ aisle.

    Well, I can say my two girls (5 & 8) would be exactly like Ro and Ree. So, I'm thinking maybe a very very hot day in the yard with a sprinkler hose? I don't know, based on your results I don't think I'm brave enough to try the shaving cream. You were brave. LOL.

    Thanks for posting all the things you've tried. You've given me a list of stuff to try on those rainy days (and we're getting rain this week too).

    Molly

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  29. I enjoyed reading your blog, please read mine and let me know what you think!

    bestvacationdestinations.blogspot.com/

    Keep up the good work!

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  30. Angela, Bryan, Ella: The cups cleaned up just fine in the top rack of the dishwasher. I was going to handwash them, but TubaDad ran the last load and tossed them in. I was a little worried that they would melt, but he said "Um, honey, if they can stand to be baked they can stand the heat in the dishwasher." Oh! Dang, I guess he was right.

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  31. Anonymous2/21/2010

    We made heart shaped crayon melts for one of my girls' Valentine gift bags. They were a big hit.
    I have to say though, they were horribly smelly while baking!
    Your adventures with shaving cream are hilarious. You are one very fun and patient Mama.
    Trish (Aubrey and Summer)

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  32. What a helpful post! Thank you!

    Barbara

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  33. oh the shaving cream is just making me giggle- and you're right, only ro and ree, of course. were they flinging it OVER the curtain for it to land in your eye??

    love the crayon project. that is one we will definitely be trying here at home!

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  34. LOve the crayon idea. And they really work after? Wow.
    I guess they would, I just kinda thought maybe they wouldn't.

    Love the head band! We've done shaving cream fights. Lots of fun. We did ours outside (when it was summer).

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  35. I know twins and if there was only one can it would be a major battle but what if you use travel size cans. Still be fun but less volume.

    Love the crayon melts. We have the perfect colorbooks for those :0).

    Cora

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  36. goggles? maybe the travel size cans? too fun!

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  37. Someone gave Casey a heart shaped multi color crayon for Valentine's day. Once we figured out what it was we thought it was really cool. (I never thought of making one ourselves!) I just threw away the rest of her Vday candy. She has more cavities. :(

    Maybe if you try the shaving cream again you could go for the travel size...

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  38. Our Target has a travel section near the pharmacy. They have small travel size cans of shaving cream. Maybe try those next time. :)

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  39. How fun is that!! Love all the colors. : ) You are a really fun rainy day momma!

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  40. Shannon (CA)2/22/2010

    That do-rag just cracks me up!

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  41. Ski Goggles for sure!
    We did the shaving cream too. Slippery stuff, indeed! Posted a slideshow on our blog
    www.whallofchina.blogspot.com

    Always fun to read, Thanks M3!

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  42. M3,
    Here's a hint: buy the TRAVEL SIZE cans of shaving cream! BTDT!

    Have you tried shaving cream painting yet? YOU control the amount of shaving cream you put on a paper plate. Put a pile on a plate, (YOU) add a couple of drops of stamping ink (using more than one color is FUN!), use a hair pick (like for crazy-curly hair or afros) to swirl the color around a bit, now take paper (use cardstock for framing or making into cards) and GENTLY push down over plate. Lift the ink-swirled paper, blot or wipe it with paper towel and let dry. BTW, I use the refill inks from Stampin Up. The pastel ones looks so pretty!

    You know it could be worse...I am so SICK of SNOW!!!!!

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  43. Anonymous2/23/2010

    Those look like lots of fun to make and even more fun to colour with later!

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  44. I saw this idea for the Crayon Cakes on a Montessori blog I follow. She added in Glitter to make the Crayon Cakes sparkle when used. I have it tucked away for our rainy summer days that will be here soon....Love it

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  45. Ha ha, this is GREAT! I found your site recently and LOVE it. You are chock full of great ideas and inspiration! Thanks for listing all the rainy day activites. WE have a little girl from Thailand. Just got home in Sept and have been snowed in for the much of the last month. Tried the shaving cream in the bath today and had mixed results also. She loved it and had fun, but when I gave her a bowl and spoon to play with (yea, I know - WHAT was I thinking) she tried to eat it! Going to tarp down the kitchen next time and use Ready-Whip topping. At least she can eat it, right?

    (If you'd like an invite to my blog email me at macimiller@comcast.net) It's private till we finalize in March.

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  46. Oh, yea, and I forgot to mention that Ro & Ree are ADORABLE! Love their cute personalities too and your fashion fridays. I may have to steal that idea. Oh, heck, I've been stealing all your ideas! They are just so good! :-)

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  47. Would the shaving cream project work better in the shower?? It sounds like fun. Have you tried it that way?

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