Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Post Trick-or-treat Activities

Our children had a very successful  night of trick-or-treating. This year we got an early start, thinking that our two and a half year old wouldn't last long. Well our little "Princess Peach" was excited about the process and was in no hurry to stop! She had the cutest little way of saying "trick or treat", followed by a "more candy" when it was time to head to the next house!

Trick-or-treating in New England generally involves lots of layers and bulging costumes over top of snowsuits. This year we were bundled up but were pleasantly surprised by the mild temperatures (mid-40s and no rain). So the combination of good weather and and a happy toddler meant my sons dreams of trick-or-treating for as long as possible came true. Sadly that meant our candy collection is ridiculously large. 

When we got home we weighed it and found we had collected 4.72 pounds of candy. Ummm, that is a dangerous amount of sugar to have in the house. So my first thought was ---I had better come up with some fun activities so we don't end up eating all of these candies. Of course the more educational the better. So here are the activities that I have come up with so far.
 I'd love your feedback of ways you use up the candy at your house!

Math Activities:

SORT - logical first step with any candy collection is to sort it.

GRAPH - lay out the candy in a type of bar graph to see which type we have the most. Record the highest numbers onto a paper graph.

PAPER GRAPHS - In the past we've made graphs at Valentine's with conversation hearts and with M&Ms. It's always fun to do this with several packets and compare. Here's a free M&M graph:

WEIGH- we used a kitchen scale to weigh the candies but a balance scale would be fun to play with as well.

CANDY STORE - today we are going to get out the cash register, a pretend candy vending machine and some of the candy. Each of the kids will get 6 cents to spend per day. Most the candy is 3 cents each, so they will get to buy two treats per day. (My son is learning how to skip counting by 3's and my daughter can count to 3, so that number will work for both of them.)

Science Experiments:

Floating S - take a bag of skittles and put them into a shallow bowl of warm water. Let them sit in the water until they begin to dissolve. Eventually some of the letter S's will float up to the surface of the water. Do not stir the water since it makes the edible dye dissolve. Also notice how the colors from the skittles stay separated at the bottom of the water. Out of a small packet of skittles we had 3 S's float to the top. We left the container on the table for a couple of hours and found a strange waxy cloud at the top, which I presume is the outer coating. When my son noticed it he said, "Yuck, we eat this stuff!" (ahhh, music to a mommy's ears)   

M&M Chromatography - declare that all plain brown M&Ms are to be saved for a very important science project. Then go to this website-  -- to find out how. All you'll need is brown M&M's, coffee filter paper, and water --- oh, and willing kids to give up some their M&Ms.   

Sink/Float - take a small container filled with water and experiment with a variety of candies. Record your observations on paper.

Gingerbread House Idea:
I suggested that we save a portion of the candy collection to decorate our annual gingerbread house. I think knowing that the candy is going to be seen in a few weeks and will be used for a fun projects makes storing it away an easier task.

A small portion of our candy loot will be donated to Daddy's classroom. We have done this for a number of years and my son is happy to send off anything sour, strawberry flavored, or that is too sticky (like Laffy Taffy).

Ideas from other folks:
"Halloween Fairy" comes at night and takes all the candy but leaves a book.
"Candy for Troops" - dentists in some towns pay kids $1 pound (up to 5 pounds) for their candy and then mail it to the troops.
"Store out of sight" so that kids just forget about it. (likely works for only younger children)

I'd love to hear you good ideas too!

1 comment:

  1. I think the waxy stuff at the top of the glass of Skittles is probably oil, since Skittles contain oil. (You can also see oil spots if you melt the Skittles and let them cool.) Most candy is also covered with a coating called confectioner's glaze, which floats, so that might also be part of the waxy layer. Glad you liked candy experiments!