You can find all sorts of craft items in an elementary school art class, such as paint, papier mache, construction paper, hot glue, and scissors. However, amid the chaos that is a childhood art lesson, there is one constant: crayons. Given that they are safe, washable, and beautifully colored, crayons are a universal favorite among schoolchildren, teachers, and parents alike.
We all remember coloring during our childhood. And without our lovable Crayola crayons, coloring just wouldn’t be the same. That’s why we acknowledge the joy of coloring and our love for crayons on National Crayon Day every March 31.
If you have fond memories of opening a pack of Crayola crayons and agonizing over which of your favorite colors to add to your artistic creation, National Crayon Day is for you. Crayon lovers everywhere should mark March 31 on their calendar, because it is the only day of the year where kids and kids at heart can dedicate the entire day to the celebration of crayons.
Do you want to find out more about National Crayon Day? If so, read on and find out everything you need to know about the most colorful national day of the year.
What is National Crayon Day?
National Crayon Day falls on March 31 and is a day-long celebration of all things related to everyone’s favorite wax pastel—crayons. Usually, crayon manufacturers like Crayola acknowledge the day by introducing or retiring a crayon color from their regular lineup.
In homes and classrooms around the world, March 31 is spent coloring pictures with crayons. With hundreds of color options to choose from, crayons have become a favorite drawing instrument for those who are averse to the messiness of paints and the permanence of colored pens or markers.
You may be wondering why crayons are so loved that they deserve their own special day. The answer is simple—crayons are a safe, affordable, fun, fully-washable, and non-toxic alternative to other coloring methods. These qualities have led to crayons being used in homes and classrooms all around the world since they were first invented.
The Origins of the Crayon
In fact, the word “crayon” first appeared in French and Latin texts as early as 1644. However, the use of wax to etch colors onto parchments precedes this date by many centuries. This is because “wax paintings”, as they were originally called, first appeared in Ancient Rome around year 50 AD.
Centuries later, artists in Medieval Europe like Leonardo da Vinci are noted for having used wax crayons by the late 15th century. These European crayons were the first modern-looking crayon that combined colorful dyes with pastel waxes. Later, stained charcoal was substituted for wax to become the primary ingredient for some time.
Paris in the 19th century become the home of the crayon, as artists and lithographers around the world shopped for crayons and other art utensils there. The famous Parisian crayons started using pure wax instead of charcoal, which led to the practice catching on in the United States.
The Modern Crayon
The crayons that we know so well originated in the United States in the early 20th century. Companies like Binney & Smith, which later became Crayola, launched their first line of wax pastel crayons in June 1903 and quickly gained a strong foothold in the market. Another company, American Crayon, also launched their own crayon venture at this time.
Initially, the first box of Binney & Smith (Crayola) crayons featured 30 different varieties. The diversity of colors led to Crayola quickly becoming the number one crayon company in the world. Their famous yellow boxes and squiggly line logo became synonymous with crayons everywhere.
Thanks to the help of more established companies, such as Milton Bradley Company, Crayola broke into the education space by providing crayons to kindergarten schools. At the time, kindergarten was a rising social movement that needed supplies like crayons, and Crayola was able to step in and help. This led to Crayola dominating the crayon market ever since.
As an art medium, crayon drawing has become a popular practice among both children and professional artists. Thanks to their relative safety and wide variety of vibrant colors, crayons have lasted the test of time and will likely stick around for many years to come. To show our appreciation for these awesome little waxy sticks, we celebrate National Crayon Day.
How to Celebrate National Crayon Day
There is no single definitive way to celebrate National Crayon Day. In truth, there are many ways you can celebrate National Crayon Day. The point, however, is to be as creative and original as you possibly can. But if you need some ideas to get you on the right track, we put together a quick list of some of the best ideas for our Crayon Day celebration.
Organize a Coloring Party
If you love to draw and create beautiful pictures, nothing beats a coloring party. To celebrate National Crayon Day in the creative spirit, invite your friends and family over for an adult coloring party. Make sure you provide plenty of crayons, canvases, and papers for your guests to draw on. As a throwback, you could also pick up some coloring books.
A coloring party is the perfect choice if you have children, since it can become a mixed parent-child gathering. This is the best of both worlds, because kids will love having an excuse to play with their friends, and you get to spend quality time getting to know their parents.
To spruce things up a bit, we recommend hosting a competition to see who can draw a selected object the best. For example, the host might pick a giraffe, a sailboat, a sunset, or anything else, and at the end of the party everyone will vote on whose creation is the best. If you want, you can put together a gift bag for the winner to go home with.
Bring Crayons and Paper into Work
On National Crayon Day, consider picking up a yellow box of Crayola crayons and a stack of colorful construction paper or bristol board for you and your co-workers to doodle on. Not only will this give you and your work buddies something to do during down hours, but it is also a thoughtful gesture that will get you in your boss and colleagues’ good graces.
Alternatively, you can host a coloring competition at work where everyone posts their creation on the office bulletin board. At the end of the day or week, the office can vote on who created the best picture. Who said National Crayon Day couldn’t be a great team-building exercise?
Make Your Own Crayons
Did you know you can make your own crayons from home? All you need to make a fresh batch of crayons is an old, broken-tipped box of crayons and a cupcake tin. Next National Crayon Day, try following this recipe to make your own beautiful assortment of custom homemade crayons.
To start, snap your old crayons into small pieces. Make sure there are a minimum of four fragments per crayon. Then, combine the fragments in a large mixing bowl. Note that this step is only for those who want to make a mish-mash color of crayons. To make a single color, skip this step by separating each individual color into its own bowl.
After step one, prepare your mold by placing the fragments in an old foil-lined cupcake tin. Be sure not to grease the tins or coat them with a non-stick spray as this will leave your crayons with a strange scent and film. Feel free to get creative and combine very colors in the same mold! Ensure that you stuff the mold right to the brim.
At 225 degrees, bake the crayons in their mold for 8-12 minutes or until melted. Then, remove the molds and set aside plenty of time for them to cool down and harden. After one or two hours, pop them out and enjoy your brand new custom crayons.
Donate Your Old Crayons
Do you have old crayons laying around the house that you no longer want? If so, donate your old crayons, construction paper and coloring books to the less fortunate. Drop off your stockpile of crayons and other art supplies to a local summer camp, children’s shelter, or charity. A child will be grateful for your donation, and you will have a less cluttered house as a result.
Color a Picture for a Child in Need
Sometimes all it takes is a little love and affection to warm the heart of a needy child. This National Crayon Day, consider drawing a beautiful picture with a thoughtful message and drop it off at your local children’s shelter or charity. To make a bigger difference, you might want to add in a cash or food donation so some of their daily hardship can be alleviated.