lets do the CHRISTMAS Candy Cane Twist

I love pipe cleaners!  They might be my new favorite kid supply.  I wasn’t sure how this one would go, and I broke one of my major “mommy rules”.  Always try a lesson before you present it! I think this one went better than I expected, and I’m already planning the next pipe cleaning project.

I needed a math activity for this so I cut the pipe cleaners to be different lengths.  When I laid the pipe cleaners out, I separated them by size so the kids could see how they would be matched.


Then I mixed them up and let the kids dig in.  I encouraged them to find two pipe cleaners that were the same size.


Curl the twisted stick into a candy cane shape.  I put the candy canes into a glass, and thought the lesson was over. . . boy was I wrong!

Once they found a pair of pipe cleaners I showed them how to twist them together.  Have your little ones pinch the top with one hand and twist with the other.  There are actually a few different ways to twist.  Find the way that is comfortable to you and then let your kids find the “twist” that is comfortable to them!


Big M suggested we use the smallest candy cane to make Christmas cards.  Grandma’s idea was to add them to our wreath.  And as an added bonus, it was decorating the kids could do on their own!

Aunt L had crazy hair day at school, so she used a few of our candy canes. . . doesn’t she look cute?

Questions(to ask your kids):  “Which size are you working on? Small, medium or large?” “How many candy canes have you made so far? How many candy canes have I made?  How many candy canes have been made all together?”  “Show me how to make my twist look like yours.”

Tips(to maximize learning): 1. *this one is important* When you spend a lot of time and thought putting together an activity, it can be hard to not have a picture in your mind of the perfect final product.  I cut a red match for each of the white or glittery white pipe cleaners, candy canes are red and white after all.  Of course Little M had a plan of her own (she always does, my creative baby).   She picked up two whites.  Not a big deal, except now there would be too many reds!  Yikes.  I bit my tongue, not always easy, and they ended up being beautiful.  My advice is this: BE FLEXIBLE and ALWAYS READY TO CHANGE YOUR PLAN.
2.  I put the left over pipe cleaners in a tall plastic cup and added them to the art closet that M and M have access to.  When we started this activity Little M was having a hard time twisting the pipe cleaners.  She was pretty frustrated.  A few hours later she went to the art closet and pulled them out again.  I guess she just needed some time to process the finger movement because she ended up making more candy canes than anyone!

I can’t wait to hear how you’ve used these candy canes, so hurry up, pick up some pipe cleaners and get to twisting!

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