Short stuff: Craft
Remember those new crayons you bought when your kids started school in August? A rainbow of sleek, smooth wax sticks nestled perfectly in a bright yellow box. By now, all that remains are stubby nubs barely big enough to grasp, let alone use to color.
So off to the garbage can, right? Wrong. In fact, old crayons are perfect for a wintry afternoon craft. These "stained glass" creations-made with melted wax shavings-will give you and your kids a head start on holiday decorating.
Prepare your work space. Gather your supplies and cover your table with newspaper.
Create the "stained glass." Tear off a sheet of wax paper. Fold in half, then unfold. Using a potato peeler, scrape crayon shavings onto one half of the paper. (With younger kids, an adult may need to do the shaving.) Try mixing different colors, or different shades of the same color. Fold the wax paper again. Iron (on low heat) gently until the wax is melted in a way you like. The longer you heat it, the more the colors will blend. Allow to cool.
Make your decorations. Trace a shape, such as a Christmas tree, Star of David or snowflake, onto the wax paper. (Browse through holiday craft books at your library to find patterns, trace around cookie cutters or simply draw freehand.) Cut out the shapes. Use tacky glue to attach a ribbon so you can hang them up.
Here are some ideas for taking this project a step further:
Ornament bulb. Cut a large "stained glass" circle. Cut a small rectangle from black construction paper and glue it to the top of the ornament. Punch a hole in the construction paper and attach a piece of string.
Gift-in-a-frame. Cut two identical squares of construction paper. Holding the two pieces together, trace a smaller square in the middle and cut it out. Take a piece of "stained glass" that is slightly bigger than the square hole and glue it to one of the pieces of construction paper. Glue the other piece on top, making sure to line up the square holes. Glue ribbon on the wax paper to make it look like a present. Variation: cut out different shapes from the middle of the construction paper, such as a star or bell.
Tree with garland. Mix different shades of green crayon shavings and melt between wax paper. When cool, cut out a Christmas tree shape. Glue on a colored ribbon garland.
When you are finished, hang your decorations in a window where the light will shine through, on a wall or on your Christmas tree.
Oh, and one more thing-don't forget to buy your kids a new box of crayons.
Crayons Wax paper Potato peeler Construction paper or cardstock Scissors Tacky glue Ribbon Hole punch Iron (use with adult supervision only)