So we set up another little melting station in the kitchen. After overheating the hair dryer without getting very far with our melting, we settled in with my embossing gun which worked way better anyway.
First we experimented with the size of our crayon chunks. The big ones made a lot of smoke and took forever to melt. Not so fun. Next we tried using an old cheese grater to make tiny pieces, which took forever but it was pretty fun to watch those little bitty pieces melt. We finally settled in on medium sized pieces made from larger pieces broken up with a rock. Not sure what was more fun - smashing crayon with a rock, or watching those littler pieces melt.
After we settled on a size we had to experiment with some different melting techniques. Or more appropriately what to do with what we'd melted. Sure you could let it pool on your paper, but what fun is that when you could blow on it with a straw, make it drip down your paper, or just draw and etch in it with a pencil.
So much exploration and experimentation happening. Good stuff.
In general I'd have to say that this method of melting was way safer and kid friendly than the grilling method. It was safe enough for me to hand over the equipment and let the project take it's own course. And we all know self directed projects are way more fun than projects that have to be limited for safety reasons.