Candy cane sensory tubes for preschool

We are exploring the Five Senses of Christmas.  Christmas time (or the winter holidays in general) are filled with sensory experiences and it is a wonderful time to explore the five senses. I will share several new posts this next week about our Five Senses of Christmas unit…

Today, I want to share these fun little candy cane tubes I made for the kids to explore their sense of sight…

These are those candy filled plastic candy cane shaped tubes that you can buy just about in any store you walk into.  It is a good excuse to buy yourself some candy but be sure to save the tubes…

I filled the tubes with a variety of materials….

  • Baby oil and a small amount of colored water
  • Tiny, colorful holiday trinkets and beads
  • Water, glitter, and small amount of Glycerine
I hot glued the red candy cane cap back onto the top (use a cool glue gun or another good water-proof glue). A few of my tubes slightly leaked so I added tape around the top to help stop control the problem…
I set the candy cane sensory tubes out for play both at the table and on the light table.  My students pretty much walked around with them all day long.  Before they played with them, we talked about how to take care of them.  My class did great with them and even the leaky one’s held up to all the play…
Through out the day, I saw the children hanging the candy canes on door knobs, on the back of our shelves, on hooks. They carried them hooked around their arms and loved arranging them in and out of my two clear flower vases…
I will keep the candy cane tubes out for as long as they last. So far, so good!  I might even go ahead and let the children make one to take home. I didn’t yet because I want to perfect how to glue the top on so there is no chance of leaking…
For added candy cane tube play…
  • Add the empty tubes to your water table
  • Fill the empty tubes with colored sand (red and white) for a beautiful ornament to take home
  • Make the tubes into an I-Spy game
  • Fill the tubes with bells, beans, and other items that make different sounds….
Things to note:
The type of candy cane tube you buy makes a difference as to whether or not you can put liquid in the tubes.   Cheaper made tubes will definitely leak.   These are just as fun to play with in the water table or to fill with other types of objects like beads as an alternative to liquid material.
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  1. Sandy R. says

    What a great idea! I have been using water bottles, but now you’ve got me thinking about what else I can use…hmmm

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. says

      I know what you mean! It makes you look at the potential of every container you find:)

  2. says

    Maybe caulk? You can get window caulk in a dispenser ready to go for not too much at home improvement stores. Designed to be water-tight and durable.
    Fantastic idea! I want to try this now! Luckily my BIL is a contractor, so I’m sure he’ll have some caulk I can try…

  3. Carolynne Schmidt says

    I loved your idea and I was inspired by it. I bought the candy canes, but the first problem I had was removing the paper. There was added paper spiraled around the tube. I tried soaking them in water and also Goo Gone. Paper never came off completely. Then I tried filling one with water and the water leaked out of the bottom of the tube. I am disappointed that I did not get the same results as you.

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. says

      I noticed that there are different types of tubes. I will blog about this again to provide some information I have learned. But essentially, the place you buy the tube makes a difference. I bought mine at Walmart and they were wonderful. The Dollar Store candy canes were cheaper but the paper came off great. So it has been all over the map. Who would have thought so many issues can come up from one simple idea!!

  4. says

    These are amazing!!! Pretty oh pretty please would you link this post at Your Green Classroom, a new blog about recycling in the classroom? Or allow me to link it? Just click the following words to link – Your Green Classroom Thank you!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. says

      Hi Tabitha – you never need my permission to add a post from here to a linky:) It is always a privilege to be added!!

  5. says

    Awesome! And thanks sooo much for going ahead and linking the post! It’s so cute! I will share on my FB wall tomorrow (too many people are in bed right now!) I am also grabbing your button to put on the green blog. You look like you have a LOT of great content I can add, so thanks a ton!!

    FlapJack Educational Resources

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. says

      Thank you Tabitha:) I haven’t had a chance to run through your entire blog but I will certainly be back to visit!!