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  • Writer's pictureEmily

Journey to the Center of the Earth

Join us on a journey to the center of the earth for Earth Day! Did you know it over 4,0000 miles to the center of the earth? We shortened that distance into about 2 inches with our layers of the earth recycled crayons!


What you need:

  • old crayons

  • paper cups

  • sharp knife and cutting board

  • microwave

  • time in the kitchen


We were gifted an in-depth book about the layers that make up our wonderful planet. The book is meant for older children, so I gave him the abridged version read aloud and we also looked at various kid-friendly resources online (links below) to explore the depths. This project, easy as it is, does take some time in front of the microwave, so in-between our layers and waiting was the perfect time to learn all about them.

Resources to learn more:

Honestly, none of those videos are great, but youtube is lacking in material on the subject and these are the better ones I could find.

Start by peeling the wrappers from your old crayons. If they are hard to get off, you can soak them in water first, but I've never had a problem. For this project we used yellow, orange, red, brown, blue, and green.

Then, one color at a time, use a sharp knife to chop them into pea-sized bits. Ultimately you will want between 2tbs and 1/4 cup of each color. The smaller you make them, the less time you will be standing in your kitchen.

Next, put each color in it's own paper cup and microwave them one at a time. Start with the center of your earth - the core (yellow). We have a super low power microwave and all microwaves cook at various levels of efficiency so it is important for you to experiment and error on the side of caution for the first batch. I recommend starting with 30 seconds. If that didn't do anything, try 60 seconds. I wouldn't go above 90 seconds or you risk burning your paper cup. As the crayons begin to melt, give them a gentle swirl in the cup and start reducing the time to check on them more often.

Once they are fully melted, carefully pour it into a fresh paper cup where you will make all the layers, being careful not to get it on the sides of the new cup.

Give this layer at least 3 minutes to start hardening up before you start the next layer. If you have a strong microwave (and a short melting time) give it even longer. You want to make sure each layer is hard enough to pour on top of without mixing.

Repeat this process, next with orange, then red. When you come to brown, use less crayon than you have for the previous layers as this represents the "crust" of the earth which is a (relatively) thin layer.

When you come to blue and green, you will want to melt them at the same time, so adjust your microwaving time a little longer for each round. Once they are both melted, pour in the blue as a single layer. Then slowly drip the green in to make "continents.

Allow the entire thing to fully cool, then you can peel off the cup to reveal one large, solid crayon.

You'll notice I cut mine in two. This was a terrible idea. Whoops! When I cut it in two, some of the layers came apart, it was not a nice clean cut, and it was a disaster. BUT I saved it by using a lighter to re melt and fuse the layers together and then using a peeler to get a nice flat edge on the cut side. So if you are willing to invest another 10-15 minutes, you can give it a whirl. It made the layers a bit more apparent, but in hindsight I probably wouldn't have bothered.

Good luck, and enjoy earth day!

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