Crayons are an every day part of my life at afterschool. The kids know that I have my own philosophies about crayons. I’ve been known to take in a deep inhale of the crayon box (a square tin, that has probably been storing crayons for at least 5 years), and breath a sigh of happiness. The scent is strong and old, waxy and sticky. I imagine it is the scent of all those colors mixed together, like the colors can create a smell. If you are nearby, I’ll make you take a whiff.
I love crayons because they are not precious- they last nearly forever, they don’t dry out, and if it breaks, well, now you have two! You can be rough on crayons. You can afford to toss a straggling crayon in the trash can. You can turn the little leftover bits into homemade swirly awesome crayons.
Crayons are increadibly versatile. You can unwrap the paper and roll the crayon to create a rubbing. You can draw thick and heavy then scratch into the crayon to create another layer. You can use them in a resist technique, like when dying an Easter egg. You can easily blend colors or create bold outlines. Melting a crayon lends itself to all sorts of other possibilities.
As tough and complicated as a crayon is, there is still something very endearing about crayons. They are the epitomy of innocence and childhood. The smell of a crayon, or the feel of a crayon in my hand, instantly brings back childhood memories. Drawing with crayons, when I was as young as 3 or 4, marks the very start of my lifetime love of drawing and art.
The kids at afterschool are always asking me to draw them pictures. I say, “if you get the crayons, I’ll draw the picture.” Often, another kid will over hear us and offer a warning, “she draws really good, but she might break your crayons!” I say, “crayons are meant to be broken.”
Here are examples of Kindergartners crayon journals: