Sunday, April 7, 2013

Lego Minifig Crayons and Legopalooza Event

Next Friday our youth department will host our second Legopalooza event.  We used to have Lego club once a month, but it was difficult to staff with such a small staff and still keep up with all of our storytimes and regular school groups (we have 13 that come once or twice a month), so we've gone to a  quarterly model for our Lego events.  Since we're doing fewer of them, we're making them a bigger deal, and so we like to send each child home with a little gift bag of Lego-themed items, and we've discovered that making minifig crayons is an inexpensive but adorable little gift.  And it gives us the chance to recycle our old, broken crayons.

I purchased three minifig mold trays from Amazon, but I'm sure they're available elsewhere, too:

I didn't realize, though, that you can't put them into the oven... they're not made for high heat.  So I purchased 4 Pyrex measuring cups from my local department store chain for less than $2 each.  I put some crayons into each

and put them into the oven for about 40 minutes at 250 degrees on an old pan that I use now just for catching wax that might drip from the containers.  This many crayons will fill my three minifig trays.

After the wax is melted, I pour them into the trays and put them into the refrigerator while my next batch of wax melts.

It takes the whole 40 minutes that a batch of wax is in the oven for the crayons in the refrigerator to cool enough to pop them out.  If you try to pop them out before they're completely cool, you'll likely break off a head or the feet.  (I learned this the hard way!)

The trays do not need to be oiled--the crayons pop right out if you pull the sides and push each out from the bottom.

Here's what they look like when they're finished:

I love the marbled look, so I mix lighter and darker shades without stirring.  This is 120 crayons, and I need at least twice as many (along with some left over from our last event) for each child to take home 3 crayons.  We'll also give each child a sheet of Lego stickers (images available here) just printed on sticker paper, and each child will make a minifigure mask at the event (images available here ).  I'll add a photo of the masks after our event on Friday.

At our first Legopalooza event, each child took home a gift bag with three minifig crayons, a minifig (we purchased some and also used the couple of dozen we'd collected from Lego books our library purchased that come with a minifig), and a small bag of Blox candy that you can actually build with.  For 75 children, we purchased 4 lbs. of the candy and just divided it as equally as we could among the 75 baggies.

Because word has spread about our events, we've increased our registration limit to 100 children for Legopalooza 2, and we're almost at our cap.

I have to thank the Lego company for the Duplo story kits and Duplos they sent us--we were in the top 200 libraries for their joint contest with ALSC, Read, Build, Play.  We've already done our Lego storytime once and we plan to repeat it periodically.  We have both a Lego table and a Duplo table in our youth department, so the Duplos we received are at our Duplo table for children to play with.  On Legopalooza day, we'll take all of our Legos and Duplos to the meeting room for the event.  Children will build while we play the Duplo Jams music available as a free download here.  We'll have a craft table set up for children to make their minifig mask, and then after 90 minutes of building, we'll send them home with their gift bags.  Everyone seemed to have a good time at the first event, so we're hopeful that this one will be a success as well!

Before our next quarterly event, I intend to purchase some Lego block ice trays to make block-shaped crayons, too.

If anyone has any good ideas for other inexpensive Lego-themed parting gifts, please leave me a note in the comments.  I'd love to hear what others are doing!

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