You Have a Family Member with Down Syndrome, So Now What? Part 5

Copyright © 2012, Stephen Hawley, all rights reserved.

I remember when I was very young I was visiting my grandparents in Evanston, Illinois.  They were very upright and not too prepared for three active boys.  There weren’t a lot of toys and I was bored out of my skull.  I asked for some crayons for coloring and my grandfather went out to a five and dime and picked up a box for me.  When I got them, I sat down and proceeded to break them into pieces.  My grandfather was aghast.  I apologized.  I only remember that they made such a great ‘snick’ on breaking.

This month’s project (barely made it!) surrounds vindicating my behavior.  You’re going to make crayons that are suitable for your child’s small hands and don’t rely on having pincer grasp, something that may come later than the typical population.



  • Three boxes of crayons – use good quality crayons: Crayola or Rose Art.
  • Several small flat-bottomed paper cups
  • A high walled baking pan like a loaf pan



Preheat your oven to 200F.  While the oven is heating, sort out your crayons by color.  You want three of each color.  Strip each crayon of its paper (hint, a vegetable peeler makes quick work of this).  Break into 1/2 pieces and put each color into a single cup.


Place each cup into the pan and add water so that the cups barely float.  Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes or until the crayons have melted evenly.  Remove the pan and allow the crayons to cool in the water.  If you do not let them cool in the water, they will crack or deform.  When cool, peel the paper cup away and remove the reshaped crayon.  One edge may have a sharp edge – you can smooth it by rubbing it on rough paper.


How To Use

Really?  Well, OK.  Take out paper.  Lots of it.  Newsprint or butcher paper to cover the table (or use the lap desk from part 4) and show the crayons and color with them!  If your child is the coloring type (mine wasn’t), she will figure the rest out. These crayons are an easy size and shape to hold.  If they’re too big, you can always cut them in half or use something smaller as a mold – you could try ice cube trays, but be careful about the heat.  Plastic trays may very well melt too.

This type of play helps eye-hand coordination, develops an interest in visual art, and is fun!

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