Looking for ways to use leftover candy in your classroom? This post provides many ideas for using candy in your classroom…many of which don’t actually result in anyone eating it.
We’ve all been there…
We handle the Halloween season like a boss.
At school, we’ve done holiday-inspired classroom activities (all highly educational of course), organized the school costume parade, and made all the zeroes in your math lessons look like spooky eyes for the whole month.
At home, you sewed a button on the NEW costume you bought, watched an hour-long YouTube video about how to use fake blood, and you’ve been watching the weather and running in and out of stores attempting to calculate just the right amount of candy to have on hand to accommodate the [possibly] hundreds of kids who might grace your doorstep this year.
Now, Halloween’s over. Beggars Night has come and gone, and you are sitting on the couch holding a still overflowing bowl of candy.
After your fourth candy bar (they’re minis, so that is just like one bite of a regular one, right?!) and the 3rd box of Nerds you’ve inhaled, your sugar-infused brain starts to work again, and you suddenly realize that the next thing you need to do is find a way to get rid of all this candy…or start online shopping to find some pants in the next size up.
Yep. We know that feeling, and that is why we’ve been brainstorming as many ways as we can think of to turn that bowl full of candy into a learning experience for your students or as a means of building relationships with peers.
Today we are talking about 8 ways to use that leftover candy in your classroom after Halloween has come and gone.
Note: Although we are assuming your leftover candy is from Halloween, many of these activities can be used any time of the year.
8 Ways to Use Leftover Candy in Your Classroom
#1 | Math Manipulatives
Obviously, candy works great as manipulatives.
Since you know how to use manipulatives in math, you can probably come up with tens of different ways this candy can be used, so we are just going to give you a couple of ideas to get the brainstorming rolling.
- Students pour out a select number of candy pieces and determine what percentage of the whole each kind of candy represents.
- Practice measuring the candy
- Count the candy
- Practice fractions and percentages using the different types of candy.
- Use the different kinds of candy and create a monetary exchange. Tootsies are worth a penny, Taffy is worth a dollar, Suckers are worth a nickel….and on and on.
- Pour out all the candy, and have students use it to work on graphing.
There are so many different ways to use candy as math manipulatives, that we can’t begin to list them all, but you get the idea.
#2 | Put it in a Colleague’s Candy Stash
Although this isn’t a classroom-specific use, your coworkers are sure to enjoy this idea.
Order a big jar like this one, and keep a Colleague Candy Stash in your room.
Bring out the Colleague Candy Stash during professional development and PLC meetings, or take it around on Fridays to help your friends and colleagues celebrate the end of the week. Better yet, send well-behaving students around to drop off candy in their teachers’ rooms at the end of a random school day.
Providing this little bit of fun will encourage conversation, relaxation, and joy among the teaching staff at your school.
#3 | Use Candy to Build
Put that candy to work and use it to make structures in class.
Create candy cars to see who can build the fastest car or fanciest car. Add in more math by asking students to stick within certain dimensions or weight groups. Then use the cars as inspiration for characters in a short story or creative writing unit.
You can also build things such as bridges and houses or models of science concepts. Take a gander through those standards and think about what your students could build using all those different candies.
#4 | Success Trackers
Use candy to measure success. If your school does PBIS or another style of positive behavior reinforcement, use your leftover candy instead of cotton balls or tickets as a monetary exchange for other (non-food) rewards.
Keep track of leaderboards from some of your favorite game show games or use the candy as player tokens while students play board games. (To learn more about the value of using games for spiraling standards, check out this post!)
You can also use the candy as a count-up or count-down. As we are entering the holiday season full force, use the candy to visually display the number of days before upcoming breaks.
#5 | Make Conferences Cozy
If you haven’t had parent-teacher conferences yet, plan to put out candy for parents who come in to visit or to give to little siblings of students who ‘get’ to come along to conferences for another child.
Another, more sentimental, the idea is to let students pick out a candy from your stash as a gift to give to their parents during conferences. Then ask the student to write a thank you note to their parents for something they’ve done for them in the last couple of months. Then you can deliver it and the candy they picked out to the parents at conferences.
#6 | Do Some Science
Spend some time researching ‘candy science’, and try some of the activities you come across. There are lots of fun activities you can do with skittles and other colorful candies. This is a good site that we found!
#7 | Make Art
Let students use the candy to make art.
Let their creativity go wild as you let them use the candy to create candy monsters or candy people or candy animals. Encourage them to make candy lands or settings from stories you’ve read.
As another idea, students can also create items that they then create stories about. If they create a candy monster, for example, they can then write a story about that monster, or do a characterization activity to write out the character’s description.
Technically inclined students could use their creation to create a video or stop-action video as well.
Throw the idea out to your students and see what they can come up with…they will surprise you. They always do.
#8 | Do a Community Service Project
As we are entering the month of Thanksgiving, use the candy as a catalyst for giving thanks to the people in your community.
Use the candy to inspire a letter-writing campaign with others in the community. Your students could write to people in local nursing homes or military service people and include a piece of candy in with each note. They could also write thank you notes to nurses and doctors and other medical and emergency services people.
Give this type of activity some real thought. How could students use the candy to incorporate more creativity into their thank you note rather than just stapling it to the card or sticking it in the envelope? Could they create poems that use the name of the candy or create candy-inspired greeting cards? Really try to make the process of creating as impactful as the process of sending or giving.
Candy isn’t just for sitting on your couch and binging your latest Netflix show, although there is nothing wrong with a little of that, but as a teacher, you have so many more ways to use that leftover candy to inspire creativity, exploration, and giving within your classroom. We hope that the ideas in this post have got you thinking about what you could do with all that extra Halloween candy this year.