If your children come home with a large pile of candy during the Halloween holiday season, you can interest them in several learning games that will get their minds off eating too many pieces of candy at one time. Distracting them and helping them find fun ways to play with the candies, they will be more likely to choose on their own not to eat them too fast. Here are some great games and holiday activities for kids and families that use candy:
Most children will come home and think to sort their candies by separating their favourites out of the pile as well as those that they do not like. You can encourage them to sort into other categories such as by colours for younger children and by flavours, ingredients and brands for older kids. To interest them and make categorizing a fun game, tell them they can choose one or more candies to eat that belong to a certain category that you name like “yellow candy” or “chocolates.”
A few pieces of candy can be selected to play a science game rather than eating them. The candies the kids like the least are good for this activity. Place a deep bowl of water on a table or the floor. A clear glass bowl or jar is good so they can really see what is happening. Let them place the candy gently on the surface of the water and see which candy floats and which one sinks. For older children, you can talk about the density and weight of the candies and what ingredients make them float or sink.
Somewhat like sorting, this is a fun game for any children younger than teenage. Lay out a clean bed sheet on the floor and have them line up their candies according to type, one line for each kind of candy. The line that is the longest is the candy of which they have the most. Ask them what is the second and third runner up to the longest candy line. They can then place the candies in containers or clear plastic sandwich bags according to type if they wish.
Encourage children’s abilities to assess and evaluate. If they have not already sorted the candy, they can guess what type of candy they got the most and prove by counting.
Additionally if you own scales, they can estimate how much their candy weighs. You can help them guess by providing other household items like dumbbell hand weights and 2 or 5 pound bags of flour. If you do not have scales, just use your comparison weights like the bags of flour and let them tell you if their candy bag weighs less or more.
Encourage their math skills by fun math games. They can choose one candy to eat if they participate in word problem solving. They can count out candies to find their answers. As an example, if Justin has 3 candies and Sarah has 2 less than Justin, how many candies does Sarah have? Or something a bit more challenging such as suggesting that Marty has 2 candies and Maddy has 5 times more candies and asking them how many Maddy has.
Letters and words are on the wrappers of most candies. From those candies that have words on them, let the children find letters or words. You can tell them they can eat one or more candies that they find with a certain letter or word such as “P,” “M” or “Chocolate.” They can also sort their candies to find how many have a wrapper with the letter “A on it or the word “Milk.”
Then for preposition understanding, you can introduce relational words like “under” and “beside.” You can let them help you place all the red candies “under” a pillow and all the blue candies “beside: it or “on” the pillow. You can make this game more exciting by saying, “Whoever gets it in the right place first wins. . . .” You can make the prize a piece of candy or some pennies if they have already had their limit of candy for the day.