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Holiday Scented Crayons

Wouldn't it be nice if crayons helped your picture smell like the yummy things you're drawing—like a minty candy cane, or chocolate? In this experiment, courtesy of Almost Unschoolers, explore the science of smell and changes in state.


  • Bits of crayon (amounting to about 4-5 crayons)
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • Cookie cutters
  • Foil
  • Empty can
  • Bowl
  • Water
  • Mint extract, hot cocoa mix


  1. Gather up old crayon bits (likely of the same color, but this isn't necessary) and put them in an empty can.
  2. Add cinnamon (or mint extract or hot cocoa).
  3. Wrap the bottom of a cookie cutter with tinfoil to avoid leaking and place it in a bowl.
  4. Melt the crayon. While you can melt the crayon in the oven, you can also melt it in a cup of boiling water. Place the can of crayons in a bowl of boiling water.
  5. Pour the melted, scented wax into the cookie cutter (with the bottom wrapped in foil.)
  6. Allow it to harden and cool.
  7. Remove from the cookie cutter...and color!


When you melt the crayons, you are changing the wax from a solid to a liquid. Wax is matter, and is a solid at room temperate. As with most solids, add heat and you can melt the wax. Some types of matter take a very high temperate to melt, others don't. When the wax cools, it returns to a solid. Unlike water, wax doesn't need to freeze to turn back into a solid.  
When you add the scents, you are just adding another type of matter. We can smell the scents because the scent molecules are small enough to permeate through the wax. The scents are picked up by receptors in our nose and our brain decodes what we are smelling. 

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