Pretty paper candy cane tubes in preschool

As many of you may have already read, I recently posted our candy cane sensory tubes and since that time, we have been exploring the tubes in other ways.  I have a few things I have learned since first introducing the candy cane tubes to my class that I want to share with you….

First of all, when selecting tubes for any activity in preschool, check out the way they are made.  Every manufacturer makes them different.  For example, the tubes I bought from the Dollar Store had seams that run down the sides but the tubes I bought from Walmart (and used for the sensory tubes) didn’t have seams down the side and were a little more solid all around…

And I also noticed that depending on the kind of tube you purchase, each tube comes with different kinds of labels.   For example, the tubes I purchased from the Dollar Store had labels that slipped right off with the packaging. They were super easy to remove.  The tubes I bought from Walmart had labels that were a bit harder to to remove.  They peeled off cleanly, but they took a little more effort.  I have had other folks tell me that they have tubes where the label is almost impossible to remove so be sure to look at those labels and see how they are stuck on!

We have used the candy cane tubes in a variety of ways. Making pretty paper candy cane tubes was fun for our pre-k children but still a bit challenging too. The children rolled up strips of paper then used a pencil to push the the paper down into the tubes….

I let the children choose the colors they would like to use in their candy cane tubes and asked them to make a pattern with their choice of colors…

If I were to introduce this to my threes, I would change the process to adding scrunched up paper tissue instead of trying the curling process. It takes pretty good fine motor skills to curl up all that paper and then guide it into the candy cane tubes…

I also set out the candy cane tubes along with our peppermint play dough.  The children loved stuffing the playdough down the tube but getting the playdough to come back out of the tubes was another challenge!! I had to show the children how to squeeze and tap the tubes to get the playdough to fall out rather than trying to pull the playdough out…

As with any new tool for play and exploration, I am learning right along with my students as they use the materials and learn about them too.  One of my little boys has decided his candy cane tube is simply a gun.  Before he went home today, he asked me if he could take home his gun with the red handle.  It took me a minute to figure out what he was talking about!

So as you explore the idea of using candy cane tubes in your classroom, keep in mind that I am learning about them too. But I have to say that I will be checking to see if any go on sale at the end of the season so we can use them next year. I have found so many ways the children can explore with them, so the learning process on my part has been worth the effort!

By |2017-03-28T22:28:11+00:00December 9th, 2011|

About the Author:

Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. has been working and teaching in the field of early childhood education for over 30 years. Deborah currently owns and teaches in her own part-time, private preschool called The Children’s Studio. Deborah’s deep passion for teaching and working with young children is documented and then graciously shared with millions of readers around the world through her blog and other social networking communities. Deborah believes that young children learn best through play and exploration and embraces this belief in all that she does in her own classroom so that she can effectively and passionately share rewarding, real- life, tried-and-true practices with other teachers, parents, and leaders across the field of early childhood education.


  1. Monica J @Sofamilyonline December 9, 2011 at 7:09 pm - Reply

    This is a great activity for preschoolers. Of course, I like the fun craft component of it, but the lesson part is awesome. Taking time out to learn about the materials is key to the perfect fun and learning project. Love it! I may have to use this idea for my preschool students. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. December 9, 2011 at 8:48 pm - Reply

      Of course you may Monica:) I agree – just exploring the use of the candy cane tubes has been a great learning and play opportunity in itself!

  2. Little Wonders' Days December 9, 2011 at 7:42 pm - Reply

    You’ve come up with the cutest crafts this Christmas. I love this for the fun fine motor work it provides/

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. December 9, 2011 at 8:49 pm - Reply

      Thank you – the holidays really inspire me:)

  3. jackie December 9, 2011 at 7:59 pm - Reply

    What a great activity, Deborah! Just a tip for removing those stubborn labels. If you blast them for several seconds with a blow-dryer, and then continue to aim the dryer at the label while you slowly peel it off, the label usually comes away quite easily. I forget where I saw that tip, but it works well.
    Thanks for all your inspiring ideas!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. December 9, 2011 at 8:49 pm - Reply

      Oooh, great tip Jackie! I will try to keep that in mind on the next stubborn label I come across!

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