MAHOMET — Children and the grown-ups who accompanied them lined up March 21 at the Museum of the Grand Prairie for an activity they would do for fun that was quite a family chore generations ago.
Not so now.
“It’s very calming. I get to make a candle and I just like it,” said 12-year-old Esti Ellis of Seymour, whose mother, Marina Montez-Ellis, is a garden programs specialist at the museum and helped with the candle-making activity for an estimated 100 or more children that afternoon.
“Candle dipping is always pretty popular,” said Katie Snyder, education programs specialist at the facility, which had events throughout the week while Mahomet-Seymour students were out of classes and on spring break.
“It’s been pretty steady busy all week,” Snyder added.
Daisy Flanigan, 9, of Champaign, who took her turn at candle making as her mom, Kelly Flanigan, looked on, was excited about the activity even though she didn’t have a lot of time to gear up for it.
“My mom just told me this morning,” she said.
Children lined up and appeared to be waiting patiently as, three at a time, they took turns making candles. A trio of candle-making stations was set up, with staffer Montez-Ellis; Pat Cain, public programs/visitor services coordinator; and volunteer Judy Pece of Ogden, a master naturalist trainee, standing by to assist their young visitors.
Holding a short dowel rod with a string hanging from it, children were instructed and helped with adult supervision to dip the string into hot wax in a pot before them, then dip that waxed string into water, and repeat the process. Slowly, wax of their choice in one of three colors began to build up on each string to make a candle.
The youngsters then took their creations out to an adjacent hallway, laid them on a table covered with brown paper, and waited eagerly for the wax to dry so they could take the sometimes-misshapen treasures home.
Lucy Wamsley, 6, of Mahomet worked on the project as her grandmother, Terri Myers, stood by.
“I knew it was made from wax,” she said of her knowledge of candles before the afternoon activity.
Eight-year-old Jaydin Anderson of Seymour attended the spring break fun at the museum all week with his aunt, Darlene Parker.
“I get to dip candles in the water,” he said, beaming with excitement.
Parker noted, “I’ve enjoyed being with him here. He’s enjoyed it.”