“Candy Cane Lane, bring a friend this holiday. Bring a friend who loves to play, we’ll eat all the candy canes…” Didn’t think I knew songs outside the realm of hip hop? Surpriiiseeeeee! I sing this song in my head (Candy Cane Lane by Sia if you’re not familiar) ALL. THE. TIME. This song is my muse this month. How did this song loop in my head begin? Ah, thanks for asking. Sit down and have a spot of tea as I tell you the story of Candy Cane Lane.
It all began on a cool afternoon whist I was in one of my favorite places, Michael’s. Yup, the arts and crafts store. I was slowly perusing the Christmas aisles, envisioning what I could do if I bought alllll the decor while simultaneously telling myself to not touch the shiny objects cause of that party pooper, Covid. I had made it to the Christmas village section and was pondering how many people I know secretly have a Christmas village in their homes and whether or not I should become one of those people. Why are those teeny tiny villages so intriguing, anyway?
I decided that no, I probably should not become a Christmas village people and kept on walking. Then I heard it. The most pop-tastic Christmas song that has graced my ears since the carefree times of *NSYNC and Britney Spears. Full of energy-an unapologetically peppy track. I felt my body, from my toes up to the tip top of my Grinchy little head, fill to the brim with Christmas cheer. A Christmas cheer so strong that I had a vision of myself. A vision of myself zooming merrily around the store using my shopping cart as a makeshift scooter. A plaid scarf was strewn effortlessly around my neck, blowing in the wind I’ve created. I had a candy cane in my mouth and I was tossing glittery confetti snowflakes at everyone in Michaels while the song played in the background.
If this song could make me so full of Christmas cheer, oh what of fun will It bring for my four year old son? At that moment I could feel the inspiration of an exciting new theme for the month, and so was born Candy Cane Lane.
“Sooooo are you going to tell me the lesson or just go on this ridiculous tangent?” you ask. Fine, fine. Look, I’m a stay at home mom and sometimes I go days without adult interaction (other than my husband) so I’m probably losing it little by little. “IS THIS ANOTHER TANGENT?!” Ok ok ok okkkkkkk here you go.
Candy cane patterns-early math skills and fine motor development (pre writing)
- Colored beads (big enough to bead onto a pipe cleaner)
- Pipe cleaners
- Katie the Candy Cane Fairy to read (I found it on YouTube)
- A candy cane (real preferred) or picture of a candy cane
- Read aloud, Katie the Candy Cane Fairy by Thomas Nelson. Before reading, prompt your child to listen and look for what the candy canes in the story look like.
- Discuss the story. Ask questions like, “What happened in the story? What did some of the candy canes look like? What kinds of candy cane stripes did you see in the end?“ You’re listening for them to have noticed that the stripes in the end are red and white and that they generally comprehended the story.
- Candy cane stripe patterns. “Stripes are a kind of pattern we see every day! Where have you seen stripes before? (Allow for a response here). Now, look at this candy cane. What kind of pattern do you see? (Hand over candy cane and let child hold it. Listen for a response). Today, you are going to create your very own stripe design for a candy cane craft!”
- Designing-have your child develop a pattern using colored beads. Younger children can try an ABAB (like red, white, red, white) type pattern and older children can try something more complicated like ABCABC (red, white, blue, red, white, blue) or ABCDABCD. My four year old chose a ABCDABCD (blue, red, purple, white) pattern and it was quite challenging for him. Make sure that they can repeat the pattern by themselves at least two times before allowing them to go with that pattern. You want them to pick something in which they will find success.
- Creating-Have your child hand you the first bead to the pattern that they designed and you wrap the pipe cleaner around it so that it stays in place. Bend the pipe cleaner into the shape of a candy cane. Now your child can finish beading their candy cane!
- The candy cane can be as long as your child chooses. They may or may not want to use up the entire pipe cleaner. They may even want to make another! Just let those little minds and fingers work.
- Have fun!