Even though I knew that this project would be something the kids would really get into, I put it off for several weeks because honestly, I had no idea what I was doing and didn't want any burns or huge messes!
Nevertheless, I finally psyched myself up for it, gathered the supplies, and asked hubby to take our three-year old out - somewhere, anywhere - for a very long time. :)
After getting everything set up, I placed two chairs in front of the stove for the kids to stand in, and then laid down some firm ground rules. Under no circumstances could they touch ANYTHING (including each other) unless I told them to. I was very clear that if a safety rule was broken, they were done with the candle-dipping.
Here's what we did...
I want to add that after I got the kids started, they did all of the dipping themselves. I obviously stood right by them to keep them steady on the chairs and help them if they needed me.
The entire process took close to an hour, and I was amazed that they kept at it steadily until they were finished - no complaints about being tired even though it was hot over the stove, and there was no sitting down on this job! They were extremely pleased with their hard work, and I was proud of their perseverance.
At dinner that night we cut off every light in the house, lit our two hand-dipped tapers, and spent our evening as a colonial family might have done...
After our meal, we washed our hands in a pan of water, cleared the table, and Daddy read aloud from the Bible. Afterwards the kids put on a play about the Crossing of the Delaware, sang some songs, and then we all played the popular colonial game of leap frog.
The kids - and Mom and Dad - had a ball, and we still have our candle stubs sitting on the counter because we just can't bear to throw them away. The project and the candlelit evening made for a wonderful family memory that we won't soon forget.
So if you've got a project that you think you're kids would love, but you're hesitant to try it because it might be a flop or just too much trouble, I encourage you to bite the bullet and give it a whirl. You might be pleasantly surprised at the results!
To see more of our Colonial Life/American Revolution unit, check out part one and part two of this series.