• Modelling with beeswax

    by  • 27 April 2021 • Crafts & Activities • 0 Comments

    Encourage children to engage with the seasons with educational indoor and outdoor activities. This easy-to-implement modelling with beeswax project from Autumn and Winter Nature Activities for Waldorf Kindergartens is a great place to start.

    Beeswax is a precious material. It’s good for children to understand how the bees have laboured long and hard all summer to make wax and honey.

    When honeycombs are removed from the hive, they are placed in a honey centrifuge and spun to extract the honey. The honey flows like liquid gold to the bottom of the centrifuge and through several fine sieves. A rich, delicious odour fills the room. What remains is the precious wax; the wax combs are gathered and put in the melter. Impurities are caught in the sieve as the wax runs down into the collecting tray. 

    At this cold time of year it is a real blessing for children to be able to do modelling with warm, aromatic beeswax. Give them enough wax so that they can work with both hands and have enough to make a little house. Hopefully you can find beeswax locally, but if not it’s available to order online from suppliers such as Local Honey Man.

    This wonderfully aromatic, precious material appeals to the children’s impulse to give something form and to experience the joy of creation.

    Preparing the Wax

    For a kindergarten group of 25 children, you need at least 4kg of beeswax.

    Put 1kg of pure beeswax in an enamelled pan (preferably a flat one), place in an oven heated to 70°C, and let it melt. 

    Stir in 60g of lanolin (adeps lanae, available from a pharmacy). Let the mixture slowly cool until it is hard. 

    Remove the hardened wax with a wooden spoon and place on wax/greaseproof paper. 

    Break the wax into wax ‘dumplings’ that are the right size for the hands of the children. Put these back into the flat pot. Wax prepared in this way can be remelted many times. 

    An hour to an hour and a half before the modelling session, warm the wax in the oven at 50°C, being careful that it doesn’t melt.

    A wooden board or a cross-section of a tree trunk make good work surfaces.

    Top tip: Beeswax mixed with lanolin stays malleable for 15 to 30 minutes, then becomes hard and stable. Many little works of art can be made from beeswax.

    Looking for activities for children for spring and summer? Check out the companion book Spring and Summer Nature Activities for Waldorf Kindergartens.


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