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Holiday Games from an Early Childhood Education Teacher

Learning with Candy Canes

Candy canes are a fun and educational way to engage young children in the classroom or at home. Best of all, you can eat them when you’re done!

If your child doesn’t like to hold a pencil, hand them a candy cane. Pour some dry hot chocolate mix onto a tray. Ask your child to lick the end of the candy cane and then start writing. Write the first letter of your name, then shake the hot chocolate mix to make a clean slate. Lick the candy cane again and draw a triangle. Repeat over and over again: write the number 10; draw a round face with a triangle hat; keep on going with shapes, letters, numbers, etc. This is wonderful for recognition, working with different media, fine motor skills, sensory and tactile enhancement, and it’s fun and delicious.

Drawing and coloring candy canes is another fun and educational activity, especially when singing a candy cane song to the tune of “This Old Man”.

Red and white, red and white,
Candy canes are red and white.
When you make a pattern, it is quite a sight.
Candy canes are red and white.

Learning and recognizing patterns with candy canes while coloring the red and white stripes using fine motor skills and color recognition; practicing sequencing; counting the red and white stripes; and memorizing and singing the words to the song make this a favorite activity.

Candy Cane Golf is a fun game filled with learning opportunities. Give your child a candy cane to use as a golf club. Next, give your child a marshmallow. This will be the golf ball. Set up plastic cups around the room that will be the “holes” to try to reach. Take turns hitting/moving the marshmallow until everyone reaches the cup. This game is excellent for teaching direction (right, left, forward, backward) and hand eye coordination as you move the marshmallow. Counting and math can also be used as you keep score. How many times did you hit the marshmallow before you reached the cup? Who hit the most/least times? What is the difference? Social and emotional skills, like taking turns and being a good sport, are also valuable lessons that may be learned.

There are so many ways to make learning new things fun for children. Enjoy your time together this holiday weekend.

For more fun candy cane game ideas click here.

By Paula Hunter-Vanley, Early Childhood Special Education Teacher