National Crayon Day

March 31st of every year marks the celebration of the National Crayon Day! This is to celebrate the invention of crayons and the joy of coloring that so many love to do at all ages.

Have you ever read about where crayons come from? I never knew until working on this post and found it to be quiet interesting about the history of one of my favorite pass times.

The word crayon dates back to the mid 17th century where the word was created out of two Latin words. The first was “Crale” which means chalk and “creta” which means earth. The practice of combining various pigments with oils went back thousands of years and grew over many cultures from the Egyptians to the Greeks and Romans.

These tools were not initially meant for school children but for Artist. The first crayons were mainly made of charcoal and oils and used more like pastels. They evolved to a more modern mixture which was in between a pastel and a crayon. In 1828 wax replaced the oils which produced a stronger crayon. In 1902 Crayola brand of crayons were invented by Edwin Binney and C.Harold Smith. The name came from Allice Binney, who combined the French word for chalk (Craie) with the ole from oleaginous (the paraffin wax used to make crayons). They started with 19 boxes of 30 colors when they first hit the market.

I know. I Know. This might sound a little geeky, but I thought that it was neet to know how long ago crayons were actually invented. I found it interesting and to see how far they have come and what all we do now with them is fantastic!
In honor of National Crayon Day here are ten things you can do in your classroom for National Crayon Day!

1. Color
Yes, Yes I know. Your thinking Duh. Of course color. You would be amazed at how many people hate to color or think coloring can only be done in a coloring book. Be creative and let your children color! Give them a blank piece of copy paper and let them draw their imagination down on paper. The creativity run. Give them big pieces of butcher paper and have a blast. Put it down on the floor and use their big muscles to be able to create what their heart desires. This can be one of the best things that you can do for any age.

2. Read Harold and the Purple Crayon.
Get your literacy in for the week by reading Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson.

3. Make your own crayons
Now, this is an activity that you as the teacher will have to do some parts, but this is a great way to clean up the art area and allow children to help. Take all the wrappers off of the broken crayons or worn down crayons and let them put them in the bottom of a muffin tin. Then take them to the oven and let them bake for about 10 minutes at 250 degrees. Set them out to cool and in about an hour you will have newly invented colors of crayons that are easy for little hands to hold. Children will love getting to color with the different colored crayons that they made.

4. Melted Crayon Art.
This activity can be done in many different ways. But one that I found is great for the children in the room is to let them take the paper off of the crayons and place them on a canvas. You can put a letter on the canvas, or you can blow the crayons in a specific shape. The sky is the limit on this craft. Take a blow dryer to the crayons and melt them on the canvas blowing the wax in the shape that you would like. If you do the letter and you tape it on you can peel the tape off making the shape of the letter on the canvas with the wax.

5. Graphing Colors
This is a great way to introduce graphing to little ones. Let every child get their favorite color of crayon. They can bring it back to the circle or small, and you can count how many like each color. You can explain the graph and the census of the classroom at circle time.

6. Suncatchers
This use to be one of my favorite art activities to make. My mom would get so mad at me because I would take all of the crayons to make these. But these are a favorite of the past and a great project to do in honor of National Crayon Day. Lay a piece of wax paper down on the table. This can be whatever size you would like to make it. Place a cheese grater over the wax paper and allow the children to grate the crayons on the wax paper. After they are done, spread out the crayon shavings and place another sheet of wax paper over the shavings. Take paper towels and place over the wax paper. Make sure that you make the paper towels bigger than the wax paper. Place the iron at low heat on top of the paper towels. Allow the crayon to melt then take off the iron. Once the crayon is cool, you can shape the suncatcher in any shape, and they are ready to hang.
7. Secret Messages

Take a white crayon and a white piece of paper and write either letters or a secret message on it, then allow children to use watercolors to paint and find the message.

8. Leaf or letter rubbing
What better way to enjoy the spring weather than taking a walk outside and finding some pretty leaves. You can also use styrophome letters but place them under a piece of paper and allow the children to rub the crayon on the paper. We have all done this before and usually in the fall when the leaves fall, but this can also be done in the spring.

9. Coloring BoxMy kids are calm and quiet forever with this activity. I can actually get work done when I have this activity out for them. Get a big box that is not too tall but big enough for them to sit in. Give them some crayons and let them go to town. It worked great as a calm down area. When I introduced this activity, I sat down with all of the children and talked about how many could be over there and what they could do. I had the children tell me if they wanted to use that area while someone else was in it and then if I didn’t have another box I would set a time to allow that child enough time to finish up their work and the next child have some time in the box. I made sure that the box wasn’t too tall and that I could see them in the box.

10. Sorting game with colors
When crayons became worn down or broken, we would put some in a small box with five small containers labeled the primary colors. The children would sort the crayons into the colors and then we would talk about why they sorted them into those boxes. It would help with color recognition but then also talk about how primary colors can make other colors when you put them together.

There are some great videos about National Crayon Day and here is a video to show what Crayola does on this special day!