My kids love just about everything related to Christmas—from the songs to the lights and of course, cookies, but there is one thing that they LOATHE and I honestly can’t believe it. If you ask them, candy canes are the work of the devil, not Santa. They are too spicy and crack too easily, so I came up with a fun way we could play and learn with candy canes instead of eating them. My solution? Candy Cane STEM Art!
Candy Cane STEM Art—Materials
All you need for this artistic experiment is a white plate with a lip on it (any shape will do), colorful candy canes (I prefer the colorful ones such as the Sweetart options over the traditional red and white options so that the colors are more vibrant), and hot water in a meauring cup for easy pouring.
Candy Cane STEM Art—Strategies
One of the reasons why my boys love this Candy Cane STEM Art activity so much (other than not having to eat those darn spicy candies) is that there is no right or wrong way to build their artistic creation.
The only requirement is to connect the pieces so that when you pour the hot water into the shapes you designed so that water doesn’t spread like crazy all over the rest of the plate.
You can use broken candy canes, whole candy canes, even Starlight candies if you prefer. The trick is to pick a colorful, sugar coated candy that will slowly dissolve once its surface connects with the hot water.
As for patterns, we created a simple tiered Christmas tree because we had a lot of longer broken pieces, but the options are endless. You can even make snowflakes or stars, or just keep it simple with a basic outline of a round plate or other basic figure.
Testing which materials and which designs work the best is part of the fun of this Candy Cane STEM Art activity. Kids can even hypothesize if cold or warm water works best—and why hot water dissolves the candy coating the fastest.
Finally, this experiment encourages kids to think both creatively and critically, practice trial and error, and of course learn patience while waiting for the colors to spread off of the candy.
For more fun-at-home ideas, including DIY indoor snow, check out this growing list.
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