I don't really consider myself to be a super crafty person; if there are crafts already happening in my direct vicinity, I'm all for it, but I find it difficult to go out to a craft store and buy all of the necessary materials to do a project.
Kids, though, man. Kids motivate me. Because they CARE. They really get into this stuff. They get creative and use their imaginations. It's not just about the end result for them, or what their friends/blog followers will say about their wonderful artistic endeavor. What they really care about is getting their fingers (and occasionally faces, shirts, hair, the chair they're sitting on, etc.) covered in paint, or marker, or waxy crayon residue.
Are you, like me, a vaguely lazy semi-crafter who loves to make children smile? Friends, let me introduce you to the beauty of crayon cupcakes.
As a nanny, I spend a fair amount of time trying to find activities and art projects to do with my two adorable charges, D&L. Many super cute projects involve the aforementioned getting in the car and driving to the store to pick up supplies. So I pin them (because I am doing all of the searching on Pinterest, obviously), but then forget about them. Then, one day, I ran across this blog post for homemade crayon muffins, and saw that the only supplies I would need were broken crayons, a muffin tin, and an oven. Count me in (only I decided to call them cupcakes, because confession: I don't really like muffins).
That link above has great instructions, but I'll go ahead and give my own, because it's pretty simple.
1. Gather all of the old, broken pieces of crayon that are cluttering up your crayon container. Remove all wrappers. Don't forget to put down some kind of protection if you care about the surface you're working on (I only half covered the table, and I had to scrub up some crayon marks afterwards).
I ended up having to do a lot of this part on my own; L was more interested in trying to draw on his arm, and D decided to focus on organizing the crayons into color groups. They helped a fair amount, though, and honestly, I find activities like peeling wrappers off of crayons to be rather therapeutic, so I didn't mind.
2. Once you have a pile of peeled crayons, grab a sharp knife and chop them up into small pieces (you won't let the kids help you with this part, obviously). The original instructions say to make them 1/2-1 inch thick, but I made them tinier. Then, distribute the pieces evenly into the muffin tin, doing whatever kind of color combinations or designs the kids feel like.
D&L really enjoyed this part; because I chopped the crayons up into tiny pieces, they got to sprinkle them into the tin, and we had a great conversation about color combinations.
3. Stick the muffin tin into the oven and bake at 350 for about 15 minutes (my timer didn't go off and I ended up cooking them for a bit longer, and it didn't seem to make a difference). The original instructions say to let them cool for a few hours and then stick them in the freezer for half an hour, but if you don't mind waiting a little longer, I just let ours cool overnight and they popped right out; no freezer needed!
It should be noted here that they are going to look super ugly when you take them out of the oven. Fear not: the tops will be a weird reddish brownish color, but the bottoms will look like rainbows. ***Just a quick side note: your muffin tin might end up looking like a rainbow as well. The tin I used ended up being pretty stained. I think there were a few different kinds of crayons in there, though, so that might have been the reason.***
The boys LOVED them! They immediately decided that each cupcake was a super power (for some reason, they were all animals powers: horse power, ferret power, antelope power, dog power, etc.), and ran upstairs with them. I was a teensy bit afraid that I was going to go up to their room after cleaning up and find their walls covered in crayon drawings, but they were having so much fun holding them in their hands and pretending to have magical powers that I don't even think that thought crossed their minds.
So there you have it! Homemade crayon cupcakes/eyeballs/magical animal powers. All with materials you already have in your house. And bonus: your crayon container is now all cleaned out! It's a win-win art project.