I LOVE this project.
We did this last year with our playgroup. While yes, it can be a little dangerous (the pin I found this idea from recommends ages seven and up). Yes, you get the rocks very hot (350 degree oven for 15 minutes). But I found that Tuesday could handle this well. She did it first when she was just three years old and now at almost four really understands that they are HOT. One little tiny touch and they get it. Make sure you are comfortable with this activity because I think that touching the hot wax would be terrible, it would be the burn that keeps on giving. That didn’t happen to us, luckily.
I had this project set up and ready to go for when Carmen and her family stopped by before they left town (sad face, we miss them!). Cardboard works great to protect the table. Take the wrappers off of crayons ahead of time (we soaked them in water to facilitate this). Having some foil down on a cookie sheet is a nice place to put the rocks once they are decorated (use tongs to move them once they have crayon).
River rocks and crayons (the glitter/shimmer are so awesome for this – target sells an exclusive glitter only pack, trust me, you want it)
Hot pads, tongs, scrap cardboard, foil, cookie sheets
We scrubbed the rocks (I went to get a bucket full at a local landscape place and they just gave them to us because it was such a small amount). Tuesday loved this part of the project.
Bowl of dirty rocks, bowl of warm water, soap, jug of water, potato scrubber, and rags. Cookie sheet with a towel on it for them to dry on. I would switch out the water when it got too mucky. Make sure your rocks are really dry before you put them in the oven. I’ve heard they can crack and explode. I don’t really know if this is true, but it made me nervous enough to wait until the next day to put them in a hot oven.
After experimenting with this last year I found it easier to keep the over hot (350 degrees) even after the 15 minutes was up and then slowly get the rocks out one at a time. Once they start to cool the fun is over.
I gave Tuesday an old knife to move around the rock on her work space. It’s fun to experiment with different strokes on the rocks, holding the crayons to the rocks for different amounts of time, overlapping colors, carving back into the wax, etc. The glitter/shimmer (i.e. silver) crayons are much more opaque than the regular colors.
I could sit and do this all day long. Bj says the crayons give off a bad smell. It didn’t bother us, but you may want ventilation.
Viola! Call them pretty things, or paper weights. Put googly eyes on them and make faces. Put them with a little bouquet. We keep some outside and they are holding up great. I think if you live in a very hot area that might not be the case, but we don’t have that problem.