This week we learned about the legend of the candy cane and how it points to Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. Since I love to incorporate as much sensory play as I can into my toddler’s weekly activities to re-enforce what we are learning, I decided to do a really simple science experiment with my toddler! He had loads of fun with this activity!
Candy Cane Sensory Activity
What you need:
- baking soda
- container of your choice (I used leftover aluminum tins. I wash and reuse until they fall apart!)
- peppermint essential oil or extract (whichever you have on hand)
- red food coloring
- clear cup to hold liquid
To Set Up:
Mix together the vinegar, peppermint essential oil (only 1-2 drops are needed), and red food coloring. I like to use a clear, glass cup to hold my liquid. Then just pour baking soda into your container.
This candy cane sensory activity is very open ended. The focus is on the process of letting my child explore the materials in a creative, open-ended way. My goal in providing this activity was to engage my son’s sense of smell and sound, but through play he explored many other senses as well!
Sensory activities, like this one, facilitates exploration and naturally encourages my son to use scientific processes while he plays, investigates, observes, and explores. By stimulating his senses I am helping my son develop cognitively, linguistically, socially and emotionally, physically and creatively. Sensory play is so important for my son’s development while allowing us to have SO MUCH FUN!
We started by simply filling the dropper with the vinegar liquid and squirting it into the baking soda. This worked his little hand muscles (fine motor activity), engaged his sense of smell, perked up his sense of hearing, and excited his sense of sight.
Then he discovered that the baking soda would fizz if he put it in the vinegar. It was an accidental discovery, and he enjoyed reversing the activity for a little while. We also experimented with making the “fizzing” sound with our mouths. So cute!
Once the baking soda and vinegar were mixed, he abandoned the dropper for his hands. The next several minutes were spent enjoying “SCHHHLIIIMMMEEEYYYY!!!!” Aka, slime!
Once his bowl dropped, he discovered a drum. Go tell it on the mountain was a great tune to play, I think. Don’t you?
All in all, I think each and every one of his senses was engaged during our play time. I loved sitting back and watching what he would discover next. This is such a fun and simple candy cane sensory activity!