Monday, December 3, 2012


Science Experiment: Bend Your Candy Cane!!

It's been just over a week since I published our first candy cane science experiment, and the kids had so much fun with it (and we have so many candy canes!) that I have another science project to share! 

Candy canes are formed into a shepherd's crook shape after the cooking process is complete. Then, the hot candy is bent.  When it cools, it is hard and very non-bending.  (Click here for more details!)  A little heat, though, can make it malleable once more.  We used this experiment to talk about melting and cooling.  We discussed other things that change when they get hot (like cheese, ice, and crayons).  We also love to talk about how things work and how they're made...even candy canes!!

Simple Supplies:
  • candy canes
  • aluminum foil
  • cookie sheet
  • optional: tongs

Easy How-To:

1- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil.

2- Help your children unwrap the candy canes.

3- Let them try to bend one...even just in half to make a hill shape.

4- Ask them if they think heat would make any difference.  Help them record their prediction.

5- Place 1-2 unwrapped candy canes on a cookie sheet.  After the first batch, try building "forms" for the candy to melt around and predict how the candy will behave as it melts.

6- Put the candy canes in the oven.  Check them after 2 1/2 - 3 minutes.

7- Pull the candy canes out of the oven.  Let them cool for about a minute.  Be very careful with the hot candy and cookie sheet.  Be certain your children do not burn themselves. 

8- As soon as the candy is cool enough to touch (about a minute), take it off the aluminum foil and set it on a paper plate.  I peeled it off the foil and set it on the plates for the kids to touch.  Once it is cool enough for your children to touch, let them try to bend it again.  This is when I tied one in a knot (see the first picture!).   If the candy cools too much, it will be very difficult to separate from the aluminum foil and will crack again when they try to bend it.  It is important to pay very close attention to the candy as it cools.  

You can also use tongs to remove the candy canes from the aluminum foil and bend the candy canes while they are still hot.  See what shapes you can create!  There are more pictures of ours below!

9- If you cook your candy canes for about 10 minutes, the entire candy will melt.  This is very fun to experiment with different aluminum foil molds and see what kinds of "new" candies you can make!

I'd love to see what you make--feel free to leave me a link, load a picture on my PreschoolPowolPackets Facebook page, or send me an email!!

And here's a special shout-out to Candy Experiments for inspiring this particular experiment! 

And here are some more of my kiddos' creations:

Do you love Christmas-themed science?  If so, be sure to check out my eBook, 25 Christmas Science Projects for Kids!

I also have more than a dozen fun Christmas science experiments and Christmas STEM activities in this FREE collection. It's chock full of science projects, tactile learning activities, and more:

Happy Educating,


I may share at any of these parties!


Katie said...

Okay, I am LOVING your candy cane science activities. These are FABULOUS!

Carla at Preschool Powol Packets said...

Thanks, Katie! We're having a ton of fun with them as well!!

Ashley said...

I just bought candy canes to try shaping them! I hope ours turn out as well!

Misty said...

What a neat idea! Thanks for sharing!

Carla at Preschool Powol Packets said...

Ashley, that's awesome! Let us know how it goes--I'd love to see your pics!!

Thanks, Misty!

HannahW said...

That's pretty cool! You have such fun ideas! Thanks for sharing at Eco-Kids Tuesday!

Heather J. said...


Savannah @ HammockTracks said...

What a great idea. Please consider linking them up at Look What We Did. -Savannah

Unknown said...

What fun!! Love it!

Sennie said...

How fun! I think even my teens would enjoy this one:)
Here from the Hop.

Andie Jaye said...

how fun! i didn't know that you can do this. thanks for linking up to tip-toe thru tuesday!

Andrea Adams said...

This is amazing! I will be doing it with my little one this afternoon, thanks so much for sharing.

Unknown said...

This looks fun!! We will be trying it for sure :)

I have a brand new saturday linky and would love to have you stop by and share some of your ideas this week.

Unknown said...

Love this idea!

Erin said...

How fun! My kids would love this. I'm going to go check out your first experiment too. Thanks!

In Lieu of Preschool said...

Thanks for linking up to Tuesday Tots! I am featuring your post this week on In Lieu of Preschool: Please feel free to stop by and grab a featured button! Off to pin. Thanks again!

Katie Drane said...

How fun!! I will definitely be trying this with my daughter today:)


Unknown said...

Love it! What a great idea. I always have tons of left over candy canes. Thanks for sharing this at Mom's Library.

Unknown said...

Featuring you this week!

Mrs B said...

these are so cute! Please feel free to link this or any math or science related ideas to my Christmas link up. I am trying to collect awesome ideas like yours in one place

Anonymous said...

We have tons of candy canes and my son doesn't like the peppermint flavor. We need to do experiments with them instead.

Brenna said...

Great experiment. I'm going to share this with my science teacher.

Beth ( said...

What a cool experiment! I love holiday centered learning =-) We have some extra candy canes laying around and we are totally going to try this!!

I wanted to let you know I featured this at TGIF this week here:

Thanks for linking up & have a GREAT weekend!
Beth =-)

Unknown said...

Wow...Love all the fun you are having with science and candy canes. Going to do this with my 4 yr old this week and will be linking back to you and your awesome idea. Thanks!!

Carla at Preschool Powol Packets said...

Thanks, Hannah!

Heather, it was a ton of fun!!

Kathy, I know I'm a couple weeks late, but I will definitely check it out! Thanks for the invite!

Savannah, I will be by--again, sorry so late!!

Thanks, Jan!

Sennie, I had as much fun with it as my little ones!!

Carla at Preschool Powol Packets said...

Thanks, Andie!!

Andrea, I hope you guys loved it--I'd love to see what you did!

Thanks, Karyn! I actually saw your new linky go up a couple weeks ago, and added it to my "Places I Share Page" -- I'll be back for sure!!

Mums Make lists...I love it too!!

Awesome, Erin!!

In Lieu of Preschool, Yay!!!! Thanks so much--I'll definitely be by to pick up a badge!

Katie, How'd it go? I'd love to know!!

Tulip TrueAim, Awesome!!!! Thanks so much!!

Carla at Preschool Powol Packets said...

JDaniel4's Mom, My daughter doesn't like mint flavored anything either! But she had a ton of fun doing these candy experiments!

Cool, Brenna! Thanks for stopping by!

Wahoo!!!! Thanks so much Beth!! I hope you guys have a blast with it! and I hope your weekend was awesome too!

Thanks, Catherine! And thanks for the link back too!! I'll definitely come over and check out what you did!!

GianneCurry said...

Love!!! We did this the other night! Thanks! (We lfet a link)

Savannah McQueen said...

Thanks for linking this to Look What We Did. You've been featured as one of the most liked posts in December.

Deb said...

Such a cool idea. Thanks

Carla at Preschool Powol Packets said...

GianneCurry, I'm so glad!! Thanks for leaving the link--I love to see how you use these ideas!!

Woo hoo!!! Thanks so much, Savannah!! What a treat!!

Thanks, Deb!!

Science Sparks said...

Brilliant idea! Thanks so much for linking to Challenge and discover too!

OneMommy said...

Oh, we definitely need to do this one with some of the candy canes we have here! It may just be on tomorrow's agenda!

Carla at Preschool Powol Packets said...

I hope you had a ton of fun with it OneMommy!

Phyllis said...

This reminds me of the Stained glass cookies made fromhard candies. I love the way you include holiday activities with science.

Laura said...

I'm curious if this can be done in a microwave. Our center is within a nursing home! The only oven is the main nursing home and not accessible to us!!