candy-corn-learning-opportunitiesAt Horizon Education Centers, we firmly believe that learning can—and should—be fun. We also believe that we’re surrounded by learning adventures every day. Here’s an example using something your preschooler will see on store shelves throughout the fall months and perhaps in your own home: candy corn.

Candy corn learning opportunities

You can use this tri-colored, tri-shaped candy to teach history and math, how to cook, how to follow directions, and much more.

To start, plan a fun evening of making homemade candy corn together; you can use your pizza cutter to shape these candies into their traditional triangles, and you’ll probably have many of these ingredients already:

  • 4 1/2 ounces confectioners' sugar (about 1 1/4 cups)
  • 1/2 ounce nonfat dry milk (about 6 1/2 teaspoons)
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 1/2 ounces granulated sugar (about 1/2 cup)
  • 3 3/4 ounces light corn syrup (about 1/3 cup)
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 or 3 drops each yellow and orange gel paste food coloring

Here’s the Food Network recipe.

History and math

Now that your preschooler sees all that’s involved in making candy corn by hand, you can let him or her know that someone started making this candy by hand way back in the 1880s. That’s more than 130 years ago—and, although your child won’t have an adult perspective of that time frame, you can turn it into a game by saying that’s about when your child’s great-great-great-great-grandparents were born. He or she can count the number of times you say great and be amazed at how long this candy has existed. Then you can say that doesn’t even count when Grandma and Grandpa were born (hold up five fingers) or Mommy and Daddy (six fingers) or when he/she was born (seven fingers).

More examples to give candy corn history some context: In the 1880s, people didn’t drive cars. They walked, rode a horse or were pulled by a horse and buggy when they needed to go somewhere. In the 1880s, people mostly used candles and oil lamps to light their homes, because light bulbs were just starting to be made. Most people couldn’t plug anything in because they didn’t have electricity—and most people didn’t have any phones at all.

Discuss triangles. How many foods are in that shape? Candy corn, slices of pizzas—and what else?

Although your child won’t yet understand how incredible it is that Brach’s makes 2 billion of these candies each year—about 50,000 pounds a day—he or she will be able to see how differently candy corn is made today, using computers and machines. And if you share the numbers of 2 billion candies and 50,000 pounds in a fun and dramatic fashion, your preschooler will get the idea that these numbers are very big, indeed.

Candy corn crafts

Make a candy corn man (or woman) using free printables, plus:

  • One sheet each of white, orange and yellow paper
  • Large google eyes (or make your own out of darker paper)
  • Sharpie, pen or crayon
  • Scissors (you know the degree of supervision that your child needs)
  • Glue/glue stick

You can follow the directions here.

If you have even younger children, simply paint their hands with yellow, orange and white washable, non-toxic paints in the format of a piece of candy corn. Then let them press their hands on a contrasting piece of construction paper. Like magic, your young one has just made an impression of a piece of candy corn (scroll down to idea No. 5)!

Looking for more ways to enrich your child’s learning and life? Horizon Education Center provides affordable quality care including educational and enrichment opportunities for children in the following Northeast Ohio locations.

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