Christmas stockings and candy cane glitter in preschool

We have wrapped up our holiday activities for this year but there are so many things I never got around to sharing so I hope you will bear with me as I wrap up the year with a few more holiday activity posts…

In the process of blogging over the past few weeks, I have received some comments from folks sharing ideas that I just love and one of those ideas was to crush up candy canes to use as “glitter” on paper.  I am not sure how others use their crushed up candy canes but I liked the idea and figured something would come to me…

To make the candy cane glitter, the children broke their candy canes into smaller pieces, placed them in a baggy, and then went outside to crush the candy canes with hammers.  If you plan to use a hammer, I highly recommend wearing eye goggles or using smaller hammers than we did or even covering the baggies with a cloth to soften the blow.  Our kids like to hammer hard!  We also had to make sure to double bag the candy canes because it didn’t take much for holes to be made in our baggies…

Because I wasn’t sure what we would use the crushed up candy canes for, the bags were set aside for a couple of weeks. I finally set out the crushed up candy cane for the children to use as candy cane glitter on their stockings.

I also set out cotton balls and white paper strips for the children to use.  Every child could choose to use the materials they desired and each child created a unique stocking with the materials…

Some children went all out and added all the materials to their stockings and others selected only one material to use on their stockings…

It is always fun to watch my students as they create. The children are becoming increasingly confident and sure of how they want to proceed when we introduce any new art experience…

Sometimes, I barely get the materials out on the table and the children have already jumped in to implement their plan of action. There was a time that I would try to give specific directions on how to make a stocking but I have learned that the children’s ideas turn out far more inventive and creative when I give them the freedom to create on their own…

One thing we did learn is that the candy cane glitter will “bleed” into the glue and even through the paper if we use too much – but we didn’t let that minor concern stop us from doing it any way….

After the stockings were dry, I added a loop and stapled the edges so we could use them for our Christmas party and gift exchange….

By |2017-03-28T22:27:33+00:00December 21st, 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. Heidi Butkus December 21, 2011 at 8:33 am - Reply

    That’s a really neat idea! But I’m guessing that you don’t have a problem with ants in your area, do you! Or at least not in the winter time, LOL!
    Heidi Butkus

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. December 21, 2011 at 1:51 pm - Reply

      Luckily, not so much in the winter but we have to watch where we set things during the warmer days:)

  2. Leeanne A December 21, 2011 at 8:39 am - Reply

    Just a tip – When we have used a hammer to crush things we put a towel over top so that we have no fragments flyig and the bags are less likely to get holes.
    I love this idea – if I get time to go to the dollar store I am going to sneak this project in!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. December 21, 2011 at 1:51 pm - Reply

      GREAT Tip Leanne!! Definitely going to try that next time for all my power hitters!

  3. TheBargainBabe December 21, 2011 at 11:03 am - Reply

    Super cute, I love that the kids were involved in making the glitter too!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. December 21, 2011 at 1:50 pm - Reply

      That is part of the fun:)

  4. Jan C December 21, 2011 at 1:34 pm - Reply

    We stirred ours into melted white and dark chocolate, spread it on a cookie sheet to cool, and sent home peppermint bark for a gift from the kids to their families.

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. December 21, 2011 at 1:50 pm - Reply

      YUM!!!! I have never heard of that!

  5. Sheryl @ Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds December 21, 2011 at 3:17 pm - Reply

    Great idea once again, Deborah! I’ve pinned it for next Christmas, since we are already out of school.

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. December 22, 2011 at 12:11 am - Reply

      Our last day for school is tomorrow then a 2 week break. But I have more to share while we are off:)

  6. Charlotte December 22, 2011 at 3:25 am - Reply

    Love this, wish I had bought more than three candy canes (the red and white ones have been notoriously hard to find this year!) Maybe you could use a rolling pin instead of a hammer, that way the movements are a bit less brutal (unless you use the rolling pin to bash instead!)

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. December 22, 2011 at 7:02 am - Reply

      I hadn’t thought of using an alternative to a hammer – good idea!!

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