I received a warming tray as a wedding gift many (many) years ago. I never really understood how to use it – I guess it was to keep appetizers warm, or maybe even a casserole dish, for a buffet. But when I started teaching Kindergarten I used it a lot! In fact I started shopping at garage sales to find a few more.
This one has a knob to adjust the heat, most just plug in. I don’t really know how hot they get, certainly very warm, but not hot enough to cause a blister or really burn. I never let children use this by themselves, a parent always sat at the table and reminded them not to touch the surface and never had a problem.
I removed the paper from crayons by using an exacto knife. Tearing the paper off would be a great way to strengthen fine motor muscles, but it is time consuming and messy so I usually did it myself.
These are very sharp tools, I did occasionally use it to make slits for pop-up books, usually I did not get it out around children, but I did tell them that it was very sharp and not to touch it. They work great to make a slit in the crayon paper to remove it quickly.
I used this art technique often during the year because the kindergartners loved it, the melted wax looks like paint but dries in just a few seconds to the touch. That makes it easy to use on a page in a book – or a separate craft activity. It makes great colors for leaves!
I cut them apart and turned up a corner or part of the paper for the child to hold onto, then placed it on the warming tray.
Then I colored slowly with a crayon. The large primary crayons don’t melt as easily.
When you take it off the tray the melted crayon dries very fast, by the time the child takes it to a table to cut it out it is dry. Depending on the amount of crayon that gets melted it has a different texture.
Some kids might choose to use only one color, others might mix the colors up.
Giving the children that folded up corner keeps their other hand busy so I didn’t worry as much about them touching the tray. Two kids could fit their leaves on this tray at a time.
Another way to use this tray is to cover it with foil and let the children color directly on the foil.
If children were using this I would be sure to cover the entire tray, but if crayon does get on the surface it wipes off easily while it is warm with a paper towel.
If you leave a crayon for a longer time and melt more of the wax you can actually peel it off the foil when it cools – in just a few minutes.
My heart wasn’t thick enough, but the blob peeled off easily. It would be fun to do this with white crayon and make “ghosts!”
Thanks for asking about this Wanda, and thank you all for reading!