We are always looking for reasons to play with our food over here, so when we put away the last of the holiday decorations, instead of tossing our candy canes, we held onto those puppies.
Today, in between a lot of lazying around, game-playing, book-reading, Hex-bug playing, we threw in a bit of candy cane experimenting. Candy cane experiments, 2.0.
Nothing crazy complicated. Nothing involved or research-based.
We really just kind of free-played with candy canes, chatted, and enjoyed our creations.
Here’s the skinny. . .
- Candy Cane Experiments, 2.0: We often play with candy over here–we’re a sweet-toothed family who jumps on any reason at all to hang around sugar in the kitchen.
The kids remembered especially loving playing with candy canes before–when we had fun experimenting with candy canes. So when I asked if anyone was up for it, they totally were.
We’re getting ready. . .
. . . candy canes lined up and ready to hit the heat!
This time, our goal was free-bird creating and playing.
We started by having everyone help unwrap the candy canes, and then we talked about the best way to ‘soften’ the candy canes. Maddy suggested putting the same sized ones on the tray at a time so that the smaller ones wouldn’t melt while the bigger ones just softened.
Just like we did last time we experimented with candy canes, we put them in for a short time on a very low temperature–about 250 degrees for about 3-5 minutes. We ‘baked’ 3-4 at a time; we’d soften, pull them out of the oven and play, then put the next batch in.
At first, getting the time and temperature and handling down was tough. . .
. . . but the kids got the hang of it by the second batch.
We wanted to be able to move them around without having them break or burn our fingers.
They were hot!–even when in for a short bit of time, these babies got hot. But the kids really loved twisting and turning and pulling and flattening.
You know us–we can’t just free-play for too long (totally my fault, I know!). So after the third batch came out, I gave them a challenge:
Okay, candy cane challenge number one: let’s see who can make the coolest, craziest shape.
Crazy shape from Owen–a pretzel.
Still not sure how the O-Man managed his shapes. . .
. . . and Cora’s twists were crazy cool.
Their shapes. Were. Crazy. Maddy was a star at pulling and stretching. Cora was big into making teeny, tiny twists and twirls. Owen tied knots and made pretzel shapes.
Yes, they said Ooooh, mine’s hot! This one is really hot! once in a while, but it didn’t stop them.
They were on a mission. Big time.
Then I hit them with challenge number two: Let’s see who can make a number or letter–or if you really love making crazy shapes, you can still do that. No biggie.
Letter ‘C’ in the house.
Maddy’s ‘M’s turned into looooong, skinny sugar threads.
And Cora, of course, rocked out a ‘C’, and Owen tried for an ‘O’. Maddy’s ‘M’ morphed into a long, skinny stretch of candy, and that’s as far as we got.
We were better off combining tiny pieces to make letters, and that’s what we did.
It was fun–so fun.
our ‘candy’ creation
The kids will absolutely love having these as their desserts in lunch this week. . .
. . . and I’m betting their friends will get a kick out of them, too!
Today’s ‘experimenting’ reminded me of all of the hours and hours we spent in the kitchen when my three teenies were home with me all day long–but it was really good proof that they still really need this kind of hands-on, fun and spontaneous, silly learning and play at home on the weekends.
And so do I.
Here’s to freebie days off of school and three crazy-cool kids who are always up for doing something fun.
Happy candy cane experimenting–and if you do decide to try it, share your photos! I’d love to see them!
Want a few more fun, foodie-science ideas?