hands peeling away the wrapping of a crayon

Crayon Hearts

Making crayons the child can use after the activity is finished is a rewarding and motivating experience.

By Cindy O’Connell

Here is another terrific, hands-on activity from Family Fun Magazine. Making Crayon Hearts is a motivating, holiday-based activity that can be used to teach Mathematics (Number Sense & Operations and Patterns, Relations, & Algebra), Science & Technology (Physical Sciences), basic concepts, functional hand skills and social skills. It’s also a good way to use up all your old, broken crayons!


You will need:


Remove paper wrapping from crayons and break into pieces. Heat the oven to 250 degrees. Fill each mold with crayon pieces and bake until the crayons melt, about 10-15 minutes. Remove from molds when cool.

There are multiple ways to structure this activity. You can teach it individually, or as a small group. You can have each student do all the steps, or focus only on the steps in the process that will meet a student’s individual needs. You can set up workstations with student’s working individually, or cooperatively at different tasks.

Skills targeted in this activity

You can approach this activity as simply a fun, means-end activity for Valentine’s Day, or use it to target specific concepts and skills.

Creating a positive classroom environment

Creating a positive classroom environment through motivating activities can be a good way to engage students with behavioral issues. To encourage a student with behavioral challenges to participate meaningfully, try providing short, successful segments followed by a preferred activity. You might want to start with a simple, clearly defined grasp and release task, such as picking up X amount of crayons and dropping them into a bin. A student who has a hard time staying seated can benefit from alternating seatwork with the opportunity to move around. Put them in charge of posting advertisements for crayon hearts, collecting orders, distributing supplies, carrying the cookie tins to the kitchen, or bagging discarded wrappers and bringing them to a paper recycling area. If your student is tactile defensive, respect this, let them participate in the lesson by placing their hands on top of yours (this technique is called hand-under-hand) as you talk them through it. For some students, you might want to start by simply encouraging them to “reach out and touch” or “reach out and find” (e.g., a crayon). You might also try purposefully choosing a task that you know a student will like. If a student is attracted to sounds, they might like the sound a crayon makes when they snap it in two. For students who demonstrate anxiety with new experiences, try using desensitizing techniques to help them become more comfortable. Use modeling and prompting as needed, with plenty of positive reinforcement.

Packaging Valentines

Once the crayon hearts have been baked and cooled off (you can use melting the crayons as an opportunity to incorporate Physical Sciences / States of Matter), package them individually into Ziploc bags (one-to-one correspondence) and attach a valentine greeting using appropriate mediums (composition). Come up with your own class slogans, or have a school-wide contest to see who can come up with the best slogan. If you need some help getting started, Family Fun Magazine came up with some of these imaginative ideas:

a finished crayon heart
Finished Valentine with label “You make my heart melt!”

Deliver the crayon hearts to friends and relatives for Valentine’s Day (social skills). Model a rote script, or program switches as needed (language skills) and role-play the social exchange so your students know what is expected. You could also set-up a Valentine’s Day store and sell crayon hearts to teachers and students (money skills). Or, put up posters advertising them and take orders. Deliver them to classrooms, offices and neighbors…

Develop ELA skills by making follow-up experience-stories (Language & Composition). Use the student’s own words, remnants of the activity (using left over materials), or pictures. You can also use your computer to make switch operated follow-up stories with voice out-put and Mayer-Johnson pictures (or imported pictures of the actual activity) using an authoring software program, such as Intellipics Studio. If you don’t have access to special education software you could make electronic books using PowerPoint.

Adapted from Family Fun Magazine

Download as a PDF.

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

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