Posted by: ad65shorty | November 9, 2009

Pilgrims: Candle Making

I love this time of year. What a great opportunity to focus on all the good in our lives!

One of my favorite things to do during this month with my students was to teach them about the Pilgrims and Native Americans. But not just about the first Thanksgiving. I liked to really dive in and help them understand how life was back then. We would spend a couple of days on each group, focusing on different aspects of their lives, such as clothing, food, and the likes. I will be sharing a couple of those activities with you.

Here’s how the next couple of weeks are going to look: This week, I will be focusing on Pilgrims; next week, I will be focusing on Native Americans; and the next week, I’ll share some random Thanksgiving crafts.


Today, we’re going to make candles because the Pilgrims didn’t have electricity. (This is an interesting concept for kids to learn.) The Pilgrims used natural sunlight during the day and candles when it got dark. They couldn’t just go to the store to buy their candles though; they actually made them! They spun the cotton into thread for the wicks. They then dipped the thread into a can of hot wax, which was heated over a fire. And then into a can of ice water. They would continue dipping until the candle was as big as they needed. They could put their candles in lamps of some sort so they could carry them around their homes.

This is a really fun activity, but must be supervised closely!!!


old crayons in a variety of colors, peeled


clean soup cans (one for hot and one for cold), labels removed


1. Put some crayons in the bottom of one soup can. Choose just a couple of colors, or your wax will be brown (unless, you’re wanting to make brown, and then, by all means, go ahead!).

2. Put the can into a pan filled about 1/2-way with water. Heat it slowly, until the wax melts. You can remove the can from the stove for a couple of minutes, in order to keep it safer for your children. I also recommend putting paper down because kids do have a tendency to make a mess. You’ll also notice my kids are covered, as well.

3. Dip your string into the melted wax. It’s easier if you tie it to a wooden spoon; that’ll keep the hot wax away from  your children. Hold it there for a couple of seconds, then pull it out.

4. Allow it to cool slightly and re-dip. You won’t have to wait quite as long after each dip now. After a couple of dips, your child can alternate by putting their candle into the can filled with cold water after each hot dip.


5. Continue until it’s as thick as you like. Allow to cool completely. Snip the end to make a smaller wick. (our candles are really heavy on the bottom because we were at the very bottom of our crayon wax)

**My kids LOVED this project! In fact, I had to pull my 2-year-old away from it! She loved the dipping.


  1. […] 3.  Crafts.  We made candles (another chore the pilgrims did- I got the idea from Dresses and Messes.) […]

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