October 29, 2018

5 Creative School Counseling Activities Using Candy

These 5 school counseling activities using candy will help your students learn social emotional skills in a creative and engaging way!

Halloween is coming! Which at my house means there is a lot of excess candy lying around that I can’t (shouldn’t) eat all by myself. If only I had access to a school full of kids who would love to help me eat it … Oh, wait. I do. While I don’t usually love pumping elementary students full of sugar, I think it can be helpful every once in a while! Thankfully, there are tons of ideas on how to incorporate candy into your school counseling lessons, so at least the students are learning important social-emotional skills while they enjoy their treats! Check out these 5 creative school counseling activities using candy.

Use Candy To Teach About Diversity

Using M&M’s to teach about diversity is one of my favorite lessons for my little learners. The visual really sticks with them, and of course, they love the candy!

For this lesson, I begin by talking about the ways that we all look different. Some of us have blonde hair, some of us wear glasses, some of us are shorter, some of us have different skin colors. I ask the students to share the ways that they look different than their classmates.

Then, we talk about whether or not these differences make anyone better than anyone else. Is one person better than another just because he has brown hair? The answer is no! To illustrate this, I pass out a few M&Ms to each student. I encourage them to look at the M&Ms and decide whether they all look different or the same. Students will comment on the different colors or other differences in the M&Ms.

Then, I let the students eat their M&Ms, and encourage them to eat them one at a time. I then ask if the candy tasted any different or if one piece was better than another piece. The answer again is no!

Then, we talk about how people are like M&Ms. We may look different on the outside, but we are the same on the inside and our external differences don’t make us any better than others.

Student Reflection Questions

  1. What can you do to make the people around you feel valuable, regardless of how they look?
  2. What can you do to remind yourself that you are valuable, regardless of how you look?
  3. Why is it important to value everyone, regardless of how they look?

Use Candy To Teach Mindfulness

Mindful eating is one of my favorite ways to introduce and practice the concept of mindfulness. One activity that both my students and I enjoy is practicing mindful eating by using a pack of Smarties.

First, I give each student a pack of smarties and encourage them to look at the pack, noticing everything they can about the way the pack looks and the way it feels in their hands.

Then, I instruct them to slowly unwrap the pack, again noticing how it looks, how it sounds, and how they are using their movements to open the package.

Once the package is open, I encourage them to look closely at each Smartie – do they look different or the same? What subtle differences can they notice?

Then comes the fun part – tasting the Smarties! Students will do this very slowly and carefully, one at a time, letting the Smarties dissolve in their mouths. Encourage your students to notice the way the Smarties feel in their mouth and to try to notice the specific taste of each flavor.

Student Reflection Questions

  1. How was this experience different than how you normally eat Smarties? Did you notice anything new?
  2. Was anything about this activity difficult for you? Why can it be difficult to stay fully focused on the moment?
  3. Part of mindfulness is being fully present in what you are doing. How could this be helpful?

Use Candy To Teach Self Control

I love using this activity in self-control small groups or when I am working with individual students. It is great because it can be done in addition to whatever you are already doing – and it gives students a chance to PRACTICE the skill of self-control, not just talk about it.

For this activity, you will need several pieces of candy, but the type of candy doesn’t matter. You will tell students that they can have one piece of candy now, 2 pieces if they can wait until halfway through the lesson, or 3 pieces if they can wait until the end of the lesson. Sometimes I also like the make the quality of candy better if they can wait longer.

I make a piece of paper that says “Now” “Half Way” and “At The End” and keep the candy displayed in the proper place. Students then need to decide what choice they are going to make. Will they be able to use self-control to wait for the bigger prize? It is important to not influence the students – let them make their own decisions. Letting them make their own choice also provides you with information regarding where their self-control skills are.

Student Reflection Questions

  1. Was this activity easy for you or difficult?
  2. Are you satisfied with your decision, or do you wish you would have done something differently?
  3. Why is self-control important?

 

Keeping the candy visible helps remind your students to use self-control!

Use Candy To Teach Perseverance

This is a lesson kids love because it involves sour candy, and my students always love to talk about how tough they are for being able to handle the sour taste.

For this lesson, I have always used Warheads, but you can use anything that starts out sour and then turns sweet. Before giving the students the candy, talk about how the hard things we do in life can often lead to great results.

Ask your students to share something difficult they have done that had a great result (e.g., training for a race, studying for a test, etc.). To further demonstrate this concept, give them each a piece of sour candy. Encourage them to notice the initial sour taste and also the sweetness once the sour taste begins to fade.

Use this to demonstrate that if we can push through the difficult things, we can enjoy the “sweet,” positive outcome.

Student Reflection Questions

  1. What is something difficult that you have done? Were you able to push through?
  2. Why is perseverance important?
  3. How can thinking of the end result help you with perseverance?

 

Use Candy To Discuss Any Topic

If you are looking to use candy to teach a social-emotional skill that I haven’t discussed yet, fear not! This activity is a perfect way to get students talking, and can be used for any topic! All you need is candy that comes in multiple colors (e.g., Skittles, M&M’s, Starburst, etc.) and a list of questions.

You will write down one question for each color of the candy. The questions can be “get to know you” questions or questions that will help you gauge your students’ understanding of a topic. I like to use this activity when I am first meeting with students or in the first or last session of a small group. For example, for the last week of an anger management small group, you may write down questions that ask about why anger management is important, how they have practiced it, what they have learned from the group.

Students will get a small pack or cup of the candy, and then answer the questions that correspond to the colors they have. This can be done in the group setting, or you can have students partner up.

Use multi-colored candy to get to know your students, or get them talking about any topics!

Student Reflection Questions

  1. Did you learn anything new from this activity?
  2. Which question was most difficult to answer? Why?
  3. Which question was easiest to answer? Why?

There are so many ways to use candy to make your school counseling lessons more engaging!

Do you have any other ideas of how to incorporate candy? I’d love to hear them in the comments below!

These 5 school counseling activities using candy will help your students learn social emotional skills in a creative and engaging way!

>