Will You Get Creative On National Crayon Day?
Why Do We Celebrate National Crayon Day?
March 31st, designated National Crayon Day, is almost upon us. Did you plan to do anything to celebrate it? Sometimes it gets a bit lost in our preparations for Mother’s Day and then Easter. It’s a shame really, as it is an excellent opportunity to do something with the kids be they grandchildren, nephew or nieces. It’s also a time to remind yourself how relaxing colouring |and doodling can be.
A Little History
No one knows when crayons were invented. For thousands of years, pigments have been mixed with oils and used to decorate caves, dwellings, pyramids... Anything an artist could embellish and use to display their talents.
At this time, colouring and painting was the occupation of adults, not children — a serious pursuit which was well-respected from the early Egyptians through to Greek and Roman times.
We didn’t get to see crayons as we recognise them now until the Middle Ages. The fragile tools of the past needed to be more rigorous and were certainly not suitable for children to use. Although still designed for adult use, we began to see the beginnings of the crayons we know today in the cylindrical shape of the tools used. The composition was not the same as what we currently use, being mainly charcoal mixed with oil (more like a pastel). Gradually, more pigment was introduced, and the charcoal content reduced.
In 1828 Joseph Lemercier replaced the oil with wax, making a more robust and longer-lasting tool.
In 1902 Crayola produced their first crayons designed by C. Harold Smith and Edwin Binney. The name was decided by Mr Binney’s wife Alice; she combined the French word ‘craie’ meaning chalk with ‘ola’ meaning oleaginous, referring to the wax that was used. They arrived on the market with 19 boxes and 30 colours.
By 1998 Crayola had produced 120 different colours, with 50 colours being retired since 1988. Their retirement date? March 31st. The first colours to retire included, lemon yellow, blue-grey, maize, violet-blue, raw umber, orange-red, green blue and orange-yellow.
In 1990, magic mint was retired.
In 2003, blizzard blue, teal blue and mulberry.
In 2017, dandelion.
With every retirement, new colours come along to delight us. We have National Crayon Day to celebrate their invention and all they mean to us, whether we be kids or adults.
Crayoning Is Just For Children, Isn’t It?
That’s a common misconception. Once you know their origin story, you will see why in recent years it has yet again become trendy for adults to crayon. Social media had a role in bringing the trend to everyone’s attention with the promise of a positive, relaxing occupation. Crayola once again fronted the field with its Colourful Escape books, markers and crayons.
Psychologists endorse adult crayoning, saying it eases stress and encourages our brains to enter a meditative state, which improves mindfulness. You can find more intricate colouring books like George Martin’s Game of Thrones colouring book, or if you prefer abstracts, try mandalas!
These are intricate works of art long associated with the Buddhist religion. These colourful art forms adorn many Buddhist and Indian temples. Formed of geometric patterns, the name comes from the Sanskrit term for ‘circle’, symbolising an eternal whole. In Tibet, they are known as Khyil-Khor. Both names are similar in meaning, in that it is about wholeness; becoming one with the centre of creation where you can become truly awakened.
You may not find that from colouring in mandalas, but the experience is a focused one where you can leave all your worries to one side.
Add Crayons To Imagination & The Sky’s The Limit
Not only will you help the kids be creative, but you’re likely to get at least half an hour of silence. It’s a win-win situation! To share this time with them, you can either join in or speak with them about what they’re creating.
Praising the finished product is essential - even placing it on the fridge or the home notice board. You could frame their best creation, preserving the memory for years to come. Making a card of the finished product to send to family and friends is also a novel idea. If you suggest an Easter subject for their drawings they could be used to create family Easter cards!
Up Your Crayon Game
To get ready, check out the state of the crayons currently in your home. Throw out the bad quality ones. If they’re broken beyond repair, ditch them. Separate what’s left by colour and place them in bags; drawstring bags are useful but so are plastic boxes, giving them a recycled use. There are also some great novelty colouring boxes like these drum kit ones.
Buy new age-appropriate crayons. For little ones, check they can hold them and that they are safe. Some sets will come with colouring books, but also encourage them to create their own drawings and let their imaginations run free.
For the older kids and even adults, there is a large variety of colouring pens to choose from. Some are glittery or neon, others change colour. Some pens even have colours on both ends! For a bit of fun, try out the ones that grow puffy when on the page.
Make sure you have plenty of paper available. It does not have to be a fancy art book. The back of wallpaper, computer paper or even cardboard is good. You can also buy mould sets for the kids to make and colour.
Colouring does not just have to be done in books or on paper. Why not bake batches of cookie dough and have your kids decorate them with edible pens? Then you can have them for tea.
You can also get fabric pens which you could let your kids use on some plain t-shirts, displaying their creativity with every wear.
Whether you doodle or create a masterpiece, enjoy National Crayon Day!