Each Christmas, we end up with TONS of candy canes. But the trouble is, my kids don’t really like to eat them. After every Christmas, I end up throwing away dozens of candy canes. This year, I didn’t want to be wasteful, so I thought for some time about what we could do to use up the leftover candy canes. We’ve tried candy cane science experiments before, but I wanted to do something a little different this year. After brainstorming a little, we came up with the idea for the candy cane STEM building challenge.
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You can do this activity both with unwrapped or wrapped candy canes. We chose to do ours with unwrapped, but it got pretty sticky by the end.
Christmas STEM: Candy Cane STEM Building Challenge
What you’ll need to set up the STEM candy cane building challenge:
- Candy canes (we used regular sized and mini)
- Hot glue gun and glue sticks (we tried to get them to stick without glue, but we couldn’t get it to work!)
- Large tray
I didn’t have a goal in mind for this activity, so it was more of a STEM experiment than anything else. I wanted to see if it was possible to build a 3D structure from candy canes that could stand on its own. Sometimes I leave our STEM challenges more open to see what my kids come up with on their own. As always, I wasn’t disappointed!
Right away, my kids got into the action. My daughter started with an ambitious design using both large and small candy canes.
The hot glue helped hold everything in place. At first, her design didn’t stand on its own, but after she added additional support, it was good to go!
After her ambitious creation, Monkey made a smaller version using just mini candy canes.
What Kids Learn during the Candy Cane STEM Building Challenge
This STEM activity allows kids to use their logical and creative brains to come up with 3D designs that will stand on their own. They must use spacial awareness and engineering skills to design their candy cane structures. In addition to being difficult to get to stand alone, candy canes also break easily, which forced my kids to have to be careful while they were building their designs. I am happy to give them anything that helps them practice being careful without having to use anything I’d be scared to see break.
We all agreed that the candy cane building challenge is a fun and educational way to use up old candy canes.
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