Candy Explosion!!!!

Our theme for Spring Break this year was candy! We had a performer who did a Willy Wonka performance, we showed the original Willy Wonka movie, and a program focused completely on candy. This was my special program. It was entitled, “Candy Explosion” Eat candy, make things with candy, and decorate with candy! It will be a Candy Explosion!”

My coworker and I try to actively avoid registration programs, but I knew this program could easily get out of hand and limited my registration to only 25 kids. All my spots were gone by February! I also had a lengthy waiting list right before the program.

I outlined program as:

  • Experiments
  • Crafts
  • Candy

1. The kids and I did several experiments. Our first experiment was to chew spearmint gum for at least two minutes. We then ate a piece of orange. We talked about why spearmint affects our taste buds.

2. We placed jolly ranchers on ice cubes to see how the ice would melt:


3. We tried to make taffy boats. The kids really did not grasp the idea of how to make a boat out of taffy. I had to show a few of them what I meant. Others just wanted to eat their taffy:


4. We tested colors. We dropped an orange or yellow m&m into water. The kids tried to mix the colors. We explained how the density of the colors does not allow the colors to mix.


5. Our final experiment was to place a lemon drop into some water. We talked about how the bubbling signified acid.

Once we were done with the experiments we transitioned into our craft section. Our department has a TON of old candy and this was a perfect way to get rid of the candy. I set-up a little store and each child got to go shopping for their pieces. They then created their own artwork.

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I finally rewarded the kids with candy they could actually eat! I felt a little bit bad that I was returning these kids back to their guardians completely sugared up. However, the kids had a blast.



Candy Experiments by Loralee Leavitt
Candy Experiments 2 by Loralee Leavitt

American Girl: Kit Kittredge (March 2015)

Our March American Girl was Kit Kittredge, and I immediately wanted to focus on the Great Depression aspect of Kit’s life. I made sure to get some music for the entire program.

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I once again did a Margaret Mildred Kittredge powerpoint. I gave a brief description about how the Great Depression started, how children “helped” during this time period, recycling, and past time amusements.

Our first activity was a Great Depression Store. I set-up a table with seven bowls (two of them not pictured) of broken crayons. I explained to the girls that people could not afford to buy new things during Kit’s period and had to reuse many items. If they did have money, people would have to weigh what was most essential to their families. I applied this idea to our own store. We were going to make new crayons out of old crayons.

I priced the blue, green, red, orange, and yellow bowls at one penny per crayon piece. My purple/pink and black/brown bowls were two pennies for one crayon piece. Each girl received 10 pennies and had to figure out how they wanted to spend their money. I also only allowed the girls to line up first. I explained that many parents would forgo necessities to allow their children to survive. The girls LOVED this activity.

After all the girls received their pieces, I had the parents/guardians line up. Many of these adults gave their pieces to their children in the spirit of the Great Depression.


We then had all the girls arrange their crayon pieces in a tin foil cup and placed it in our oven. There was definitely some cool color mixtures happening. My helper then placed all these tin foil cups in the freezer to speed up the process. Our final result was some neat crayons:

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Our next project was kites! I explained how kites were a simple and very inexpensive amusement when no one has money. We had newspapers, straws, tape, yarn, crepe paper, and glue to create our own newspaper kites for the dolls. Some of the girls scoured for images they could incorporate in their design while others simple drew their own designs.

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By the end of the program, I had girls running around with their kites. They actually do fly!

Overall, this might have been one of my favorite American Girl programs. The girls and adults seemed to really enjoy it.

American Girl: Addy Walker (February 2015)

I had a hard time picking a girl for February until one of my favorite patrons requested that I do Addy Walker for February. I knew immediately that I wanted the kids to make their own play-dough cherry pie as Addy had cherry pie for her birthday. I woke up at 6am on Saturday and made several batches of homemade play-dough. I found this super easy recipe. I do recommend that you add the salt directly to the hot water. It made the play-dough less grainy. I made several batches for the “dough” and a smaller batch for the “cherries.” 10997511_774953422553707_5027035777628351599_n Once the girls arrived for the actual program, I did my Addy Walker powerpoint. I talked briefly about what plantation Addy’s lived on (the author created Addy’s character based on the Stagville Plantation, how she picked her birthday, her chores, and where she escaped to with her mother. I then talked about how Addy had cherry pie for birthday and how she might have played with a Thaumatrope. Our first task was for the girls to make their own cherry pie out of the play-dough. I bought a several muffin tins. I specifically choose the tins that came six to one tin. I wanted a size that the girls could easily manage and that would be size appropriate for their dolls. These are super easy to cut. You just have to make sure to fold the down tin so there are no sharp edges. We lined out tins with the dough, rolled the cherries, and then made the topping. Plastic knives work great to make the strips.

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Some of the girls made designs. Unfortunately, I was running around and was unable to get pictures. After our cherry pies, we went on to make our own thaumatropes. I found my instructions in Martha’s Stewart’s Favorite Crafts for Kids. I had a few examples of thaumatropes on my powerpoint. I showed two youtube videos. One of them was of vintage thaumatropes and the other was of new thaumatropes.  Beware that many kids will copy the examples. However many of them of turned out great. Here is one example: