My kids each went through a phase where they would peel and break crayons. When I was a new mother I was slightly appalled at this. I hated coloring with broken crayons as a kid. I found however, that my kids either didn’t care about coloring with broken crayons or they didn’t care about coloring much at all. Later I learned that coloring with broken crayons helps one to develop the coveted tripod grip that you see with most writers. I let the whole thing go and focused on having the child responsible for peeling and or crushing the crayons sweep up the mess. Occasionally I would replenish the most used colors in the crayon box.
I came across a great project in The Story of the World, Activity Book 1 that allows one to create something with these crayon scraps and allows children with differing tactile and sensory needs all find an aspect of it that they can enjoy. (You can find it in the activities for Chapter 15- The Phoenicians under the heading Craft Project: Make Pretend Colored Glass.) This activity allows children who don’t color to have fun with crayons as well as help build the skills that one gains from coloring. Coloring helps develop eye-hand coordination and fine motor control as well as helps strengthen the hand muscles for writing later.
A picture to decorate
Iron + ironing board
The kids who love peeling crayons have fun peeling them while at the same time honing their fine motor skills with their use of the pincer grasp* to rip the paper off.
The kids who love crushing crayons into little bits have their fill with shredding crayons onto a white paper plate. Holding a crayon bit while you shave it with a dull vegetable peeler also helps to strengthen the muscles in the hands.
The kids who like eying things closely love picking up the crayon bits (developing the pincer grasp) and arranging them on their photo (developing eye-hand coordination). Hang your pictures in the window and enjoy the sun’s cool effects on your art.
This whole project took about two hours from start to finish because the crushing/shredding of the crayons turned out to be rather time consuming but if your kids like crushing crayons on a regular basis, simply save the bits in a jar for when you’re ready to craft.
* pincer grasp- possible when the thumb and forefinger can work independently from the other fingers on the hand; This skill is the foundation for many other skills such as self-feeding, buttoning clothes and writing.