You’ve probably thought it at least once: School would be so much easier if you could just bribe the kids with candy. Right? While using candy in the classroom every day might not be practical, the occasional sugary treat does have educational value.
Benefits of Candy in the Classroom
Whether you’re a classroom teacher or homeschooling super parent, you don’t have to be afraid of a little fun in the classroom – specifically the sweet kind.
Sometimes, involving candy in lessons provides the motivation kids need to stay focused. Other times, it adds a layer of sensory play to otherwise abstract math or science concepts, or makes arts and crafts that much more fun (and tasty!).
But you might be wondering, is it really good to “bribe” or reward students with candy? Shouldn’t they love learning for learning’s sake? The simple solution is to think outside the box! There are so many more creative and truly educational ways to use candy in your class, including:
- Math games
- Science lessons
- Science experiments
- Holiday-themed lessons
- Craft projects
- And more!
Ready to add a sweet twist to your next lesson? Read on for seven fun candy activities, candy experiments, candy crafts, and candy games for kids to try in your home or classroom.
1. Rock Candy
Making rock candy is a great educational activity for so many reasons. Kids can learn about the chemistry of sugar, crystals, solutions, and precipitation, among other concepts.
Though making rock candy is perfect for middle school and high school chemistry students, elementary school students can also enjoy this candy experiment. Just make sure to observe careful safety practices, since you will need to boil water to make rock candy.
There are lots of homemade rock candy recipes to choose from, but check out a science-focused tutorial here.
2. The Science of Chocolate
Everybody loves chocolate! So, it’s a good thing there are tons of ways to use this sweet treat in your classroom.
Beyond candy games for kids that focus on chocolate candy such as M&Ms, it could be fun to create a lesson around the science of chocolate and how it’s made. This could work for biology (if you study chocolate’s roots in the cacao tree), chemistry, or both.
Check out these ideas on how to incorporate the science of chocolate and other chocolate activities in your classroom.
3. Edible Slime
Another great chemistry lesson with a hands-on, sensory element, making edible slime is perfect for kids of all ages. Plus, you get to use kids’ favorite candies, like Starburst and gummy bears. Kids “recycle” these candies into slime that they can play with AND eat!
Learn how to make edible slime here.
4. Jelly Bean Engineering
Did you know you can build with Jelly Beans? Yep – all you need to teach your students about how structures stay upright is some Jelly Beans and toothpicks. Learn more about this super easy, fun, creative STEM candy activity here.
Holiday Candy Games and Activities
5. Candy Corn Comparisons
Need your students to stay focused during the excitement of Halloween? It might be easier to just lean into the madness with some candy corn math!
One candy game for kids we love is using candy corn as “greater than” or “less than” symbols when comparing quantities. And since no science experiments will be performed on the candy, kids can of course enjoy their candy once the activity is over! If you let them, that is.
This is a fundamental math activity that works best for elementary school classrooms.
6. Frankenstein Pudding Cups
Here’s an old-fashioned “baking” activity for the kids on Halloween. Nothing wrong with letting the kids practice their kitchen skills in school!
Making Frankenstein pudding cups is a super easy way to let kids practice measuring, experiment with different textures, and more, all with a spooky Halloween theme. Get the full activity here.
7. Candy Heart Lessons
When Valentine’s Day rolls around, it’s a great opportunity to use conversation hearts in the classroom. There are tons of activities to choose from for multiple lower grade levels, including:
- Making different kinds of graphs using candy hearts
- Sorting and comparing by color
- Experiments on erosion
For tutorials on these activities and more candy heart activities, check out Our Journey Westward. Candy doesn’t just have to be something you eat – there are tons of ways to use it in educational and creative ways, whether in a classroom or at home. For more candy activity and candy craft ideas, check out the Candy Club blog.