Who Invented Crayons?

Who Invented Crayons?
Ellen Wilson: Religion, Social Issues and Reform

Skill: Elementary School
Time Required: One to two class periods


   Although Ellen Wilson's three daughters were teenagers when Crayola crayons were invented, generations of adults have been very glad to be able to give such colorful art materials to their children.  Did you ever wonder where they came from?


   Students who participate in this activity with learn the history of Crayola crayons and will use crayons to make a variety of art projects.

Materials Required:

Access to the Internet Crayola timeline link crayons (preferably Crayola!) paper


1.  Using the "History of Crayola Crayons" website (below), have students study the history of the development of Crayola crayons.  

2.  Students can be divided into working groups, with each group assigned to find the answer one or more of the following questions:

  • When were Crayola crayons invented?
  • Who invented them?  What relationship did the inventors have to one another?
  • Who thought up the name, "Crayola"?
  • How many crayons were in the first box?  What colors were they?
  • How much did the first box of crayons cost?

3.  Using the First Ladies Library Timeline, students can create (with crayons) their own Crayola Chonology.

4.  Using the Crayon Homepage, students can select a seasonal or tropical project from many possible ones to produce as an art project.

Extending the Lesson:

This lesson could be extended by having students prepare a written or PowerPoint presentation on their research.


Sources & Resources:



This lesson was developed by Averil McClelland, Kent State University.