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With Halloween approaching, candy seems to be everywhere. Although we don’t eat very much candy in our home, I couldn’t resist getting some candy at the store to do a little preschool science activity with a theme of exploring candy. So even though my kids didn’t eat the candy, it was still a real treat for them. 🙂
I set out trays for each of my kids that included the following materials:
- Candy – lots of different kinds
- Plastic cups in various sizes
- Silicon cupcake liners
- Slender glass flask
- Scissor scoops
- Our easy grip tweezers
- Magnifying glasses
- Plastic measuring spoons
I purchased our candy at an amazing candy shop near our house. I included a large assortment, including red vine licorice, Pop Rocks, Fizzies, Smarties, jelly beans, and other sugary treats from the bulk candy section.
So how did the kids explore these candies?
Exploring candy that fizz and pop
If you decide to do your own exploring candy activity at home, you can any assortment of candy you wish, but I highly recommend the Fizzies and the Pop Rocks if you can find them. One of the first things my daughter did was to add a Fizzie candy to a cup of water. She watched in excitement as the water began to bubble and fizz.
My son wanted to follow suit, so he put three Fizzies into his water at the same time. The result looked like a bubbling soup and smelled deliciously of lemon.
The kids were curious about the Pop Rocks, so they decided to add them to their brews next. This produced a delightful popping and crackling sound that lasted quite a while.
Making “candy soup”
Seeing the fizzing and popping candy water reminded the kids of soup, so they decided to make “candy soup” by dumping lots of candy into their cups.
Fine motor skills practice
After making their soups, the kids spent the better part of the hour finding various ways to transfer both candy and water from container to container. I loved watching them give their fine motor skills a workout in so many different ways!
My daughter used her pipette to transfer water from her cup to her flask.
My son decided to pour his candy soup into the flask using a funnel. I love how his water turned green from the dissolved candy. 🙂
Then my daughter started using a spoon to transfer her candy soup from container to container.
Eventually both kids started pouring straight between all of their various cups and containers.
Preschool science related to exploring candy
My kids were involved in exploring for over an hour. During this time, they were playing the part of little scientists. They were asking questions, making predictions, and experimenting with the materials to see what would happen.
For example, they explored which candies dissolve quickly in water and which do not. My daughter fished candies out of her candy soup and examined which had shrunk in size and which had not. She squished the candies in her hands to see which of the hard candies would now break down in her hand after having soaked in the water.
My son stirred his soup to try to make his candies dissolve. In doing so, he turned his water a lovely shade of green. We talked about how the water had turned green due to the candies dissolving and spreading their color in the water.
My daughter was surprised to discover that this egg candy did not dissolve quickly at all, but kept its shape even after sitting in the water for quite some time.
The kids also explored questions about what items would fit into their flask. They experimented to see how many different kinds of candy they could fit inside.
My son noticed that this candy would not fit when he first tried it. But then he soaked it in water until it dissolved enough for it to fit.
The kids also explored whether it is possible to paint with candy.
My daughter noticed that the red licorice could only be used for painting when it was wet.
And toward the end, she used a candy wrapper to smear candy color all over her paper!
In the hour plus that my kids were engaged with exploring candy as part of this preschool science project, we covered so many great vocabulary words (e.g., dissolve, slippery). The kids also wrestled with really interesting questions about cause and effect, dissolving, quantity, and more.
What other ideas do you have for using candy as a learning tool?
More Halloween resources
More Halloween posts from Gift of Curiosity: