Jelly Bean Easter Treats: Springtime Fun for Your Family
Gotta Love Jelly Beans!
Jelly beans and Easter go together like spring showers and April flowers. US manufacturers produce more than 16 billion jelly beans for the springtime holiday alone. According to the National Confectioners Association (NCA), that’s enough to completely fill a plastic Easter egg 89 feet high and 60 feet wide (about the height of a nine-story office building).
The exact origin of the jellybean is not truly known. Experts think the jelly center is a descendent of the Middle Eastern confection Turkish delight and dates back to biblical times. The NCA says that the jellybean shell coating is an offspring of a process called panning, first invented in 17th century France to make Jordan almonds.
The jelly bean manufacturing process starts with the center. Sugar, corn syrup, and other ingredients are cooked in large boilers and then piped to other casting areas. Finally the mix is squirted onto the trays with the egg-shape indentions and dried overnight. The centers are rotated and continually covered in sugar, gradually building the shell. Colors and flavors are finally added to get the distinct look and taste of the bean.
Whether you eat jelly beans just for Easter, celebrate National Jelly Bean Day on April 22, or indulge in this treat any time of the year—here are fun ways to use these colorful confections with the kids.
Jelly Bean Math Lessons
Sorting Beans: Sorting and classifying jelly beans can be an enjoyable and effective math lesson. Give your child an empty egg carton and a handful of jelly beans to get started. Have your child paint the individual egg cups popular jelly bean colors. Then have your child place the beans in the individual egg cups, matching the paint to the candy colors. Your child can now count how many beans of each color are in the cups.
Graphing Jelly Beans: Graphing is a good activity for the whole family—treat this activity as a game. Poll each member for their favorite colors or flavors of jelly bean. On one side of a piece of posterboard, write in all the colors of jellybeans used. On the bottom of the page, write numbers across from one to 10. As each family member gives you his or her preference, color in one jelly bean per answer. Which is the most and which is the least popular color in your household?
Jelly Bean Patterns: Give each child a large wooden craft stick. Help your child glue small jelly beans onto the stick following a sample pattern that you have already established. Start with simple patterns of two colors working up to three and four. (Example: red, green, red, green or red, green, yellow, red, green, yellow.) For a fun variation, cut paper jelly beans from colored construction paper and glue these onto craft sticks or strips of cardboard.
Calendar Jar: Make a calendar or anticipation jar to help your child count down the number of days until Easter, a birthday, or any special event. Place jelly beans in the jar equal to the number of days leading up to the event and allow your child to enjoy one piece of candy per day. When the jelly beans are gone, it’s time to celebrate!
Jelly Bean Necklace: Young children enjoy making and wearing necklaces that they have crafted. Cut out a variety of paper jelly beans from colored construction paper. Use a hole punch to make a hole in the center of each bean. Also cut up pieces of plastic straws. Take a length of yarn (enough to easily fit over your child’s head) and show your child how to string his necklace using the paper beans as necklace beads and the straw pieces as spacers. Wrap a piece of tape around one end of the yarn to make a pretend needle (this will make it easier to thread the pieces). Finally, tie the ends together. Now count the jelly beans in your child’s necklace. (This is also a great activity for honing your child’s fine motor skills.)
YOU MIGHT BE INTERESTED IN