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A wonderful way to capture the magic of family trips is by having your children write reviews of their family adventures; so take along this vacation worksheet on your next trip. I thought of this idea while on a recent family trip to Great Wolf Lodge with my family, wondering if my children would remember how much fun we had together.

examples of the 3 trip review vacation worksheets for kids to fill out

It occurred to me that by making age-appropriate trip review forms for my 5 and 8 year old, I could capture their thoughts. I plan to have them complete one for each trip and place them in a family trip review binder.

In this blog post, I'll explore the benefits of engaging kids in this activity and provide the three free vacation worksheets that parents and educators can use to inspire trip reviews. Let the joy of reminiscing and storytelling unfold!

The Importance of Kids' Perspectives:

Children possess a unique lens through which they view the world, and their perspectives on family trips are no exception. Encouraging them to share their thoughts fosters communication skills, enhances vocabulary, and boosts their self-esteem. Moreover, it's a delightful way for parents to gain insight into their child's experiences and feelings during the vacation.

sample of family vacation worksheet where there are sentence starters for younger children writing independently

The Benefits of Writing Reviews:

  1. Language Development: Writing a review requires kids to express their thoughts clearly. This activity provides an opportunity for them to articulate their thoughts, building a foundation for effective communication.
  2. Memory Recall: Recounting the details of a family trip helps children sharpen their memory skills. Encouraging them to recall specific moments and experiences is not only fun, but an important comprehension skill that can be applied to other academic endeavors like reading.
  3. Self-Expression: Allowing children to express their feelings and thoughts through writing boosts their self-esteem. It's a valuable form of self-expression that empowers kids to communicate in a way that is uniquely their own.
  4. Feedback for parents: I love getting feedback from my children about trips. What was the best or worst part? What would you change? This helps me plan future trips that everyone has more fun on!

Introducing the Vacation Worksheet:

To make the review-writing process more engaging for both kids and simpler for parents/educators, I've created a 3 age appropriate versions of a free vacation worksheet that you use with your children or students. This worksheet is designed to prompt specific questions, guiding kids through their thoughts about the trip and helping them organize their ideas.

How to Use the Vacation Worksheet:

  1. Pre-Trip Planning: Before the trip, share the worksheet with your child and discuss the types of things they might want to pay attention to during the vacation. This sets the stage for them to observe and reflect on their experiences.
  2. Daily Reflections: Each day ask them about their experiences. We like to play "Rose and Thorn" at the end of the day. In this game we each share the best and worst parts of our day. Ask them about their favorite moments, the new things they learned, and any surprises they encountered. This will help them have a plethora of ideas for their trip review.
  3. Post-Trip Review: Once the vacation is over, use the worksheet as a tool for a post-trip review. Younger children will draw pictures; older kids will write out responses. Sitting together to write their trip review can be an excellent opportunity for some quality bonding time.

Why did I create this vacation worksheet for families?

Engaging children aged 4-8 in the process of writing reviews about their family trips is not only a creative exercise but also a meaningful way to strengthen family bonds. The free vacation worksheet serves as a handy tool, making writing both enjoyable and educational for kids. Looking for more fun writing assignments for this age? Try this free one.

Let the magic of their words capture the essence of your family adventures. In 10 years when you find this binder full of trip reviews you'll be laughing and remembering the best parts of this enchanting time. They grow up so fast.

Today, we're going to dive into a squeal worthy preschool science experiment known as Fizzy Colors Surprise, and it comes with a FREE downloadable preschool science lesson plan at the end of this post.

With just a few household ingredients, you'll dazzle your preschoolers in the name of chemistry. Each time they add a dash of vinegar to a muffin pan, a new surprise color will be revealed as the baking soda and vinegar reacts and reveals the food coloring below. So, let's gather our materials and dive into the fascinating world of chemistry!

*As an Amazon Associate I may get a small commission if you decide to purchase from my links. Thank you.

muffin pan with colorful bubbles rising in each cup, last cup has baking soda in it, child's hand holding a pipette with white vinegar in it

Prepare Your Fizzy Colors Science Experiment

By doing this experiment, we will introduce preschoolers to basic chemical reactions using baking soda and vinegar. Children will make predictions and observations, record their findings, and describe the changes they notice happening during the chemical reaction.

Standards listed in the lesson plan are from the California Preschool Science Standards.


  1. Muffin pan (I use 1 twelve cup muffin pan for 2-3 children.)
  2. Baking soda
  3. Food coloring (assorted colors, make sure it's liquid/not the gel kind)
  4. White Vinegar (cheapest at grocery stores)
  5. Droppers or pipettes (optional but these plastic ones are our favorites)
  6. Spoons
  7. Safety goggles (optional but kids love a little dress up action)
  8. Observation recording sheet included without watermark in the downloadable lesson plan
printable observation recording sheet for free science lesson plan for preschoolers

Prepare for the experiment:

  1. Place your muffin pan(s) on the tables.
  2. In each cup of the muffin pan add a few drops of different food coloring. You can even mix 2 colors like red and blue to reveal purple.
  3. Using your spoon, scoop enough baking soda to cover up the color droplets in each pan
  4. Fill a separate container with the white vinegar. You can even cut the white vinegar with some water if you're worried you won't have enough. You really don't need a lot to create this reaction!
  5. Place spoons/pipettes nearby, one for each child.

Watch this video to see how easy it all is!

Fizzing Colors Surprise! A Preschool Science Lesson:

Introduction Phase

  1. Introduce the supplies: baking soda, vinegar, food coloring, pipettes, and muffin pans by asking students if they know what they are and whether they have used them before.
  2. Share that today we have muffin pans with food coloring and baking soda, and our job as the scientist will be to add small amounts of white vinegar to each muffin pan then observe what happens.
  3. Ask the children what they predict will happen if you add vinegar to a muffin pan cup.
    • Explain that a scientific prediction is called a hypothesis and that a hypothesis doesn't have to be right. It is just a guess we have now that is based on what information we already have.
    • List or chart the children's predictions to circle back to at the end of the lesson.
  4. Explain expectations - we know kids can go ham, so let's set some rules first!
    • Show kids how to use a pipette or spoon to gather vinegar, and ask them where it goes (only in the muffin pan).
    • Determine how many muffin pan cups each child will be allowed to do, especially if they're sharing a larger pan between 2-3 kids.
    • Decide whether or not you'll be allowing them to touch the mixture formed and be clear that nothing goes in their mouths (although all these items are used in baking, so if it accidentally happens, you're in the clear!)

Experiment Phase

  1. Begin the experiment:
    • Provide each child with a dropper or pipette and ask them to fill it with vinegar from the container.
    • Instruct them to slowly squeeze the vinegar onto the baking soda and food coloring mixture, observing the fascinating reaction.
    • Pause for children to share what happened with their peers. Kids will observe a fizzing chemical reaction between the baking soda and the vinegar as they add in more vinegar, and the fizzing will be the color of whatever food coloring was below. This will be an exciting revelation!
    • Continue to add vinegar to the number of allotted muffin cups.
  2. Observing and discussing:
    • Encourage children to describe what they see, hear, and smell during the experiment.
    • Discuss the cause and effect relationship between the baking soda, vinegar, and the resulting fizzing reaction.
    • Prompt observational questions such as: What happens when we mix the vinegar with the baking soda? What happens when you add just a little vinegar? What happens when you add more vinegar? What colors do you see?

Results and Conclusions

  1. Complete the observation sheet included in the lesson plan, so children can draw their results.
  2. Review the results and previous hypotheses. Did any of them come true?
  3. Explain that a chemical reaction is when two things combine and form a new substance. In this experiment the children took a liquid (vinegar) and a solid (baking soda), and combined them to make a new substance called carbon dioxide gas.
children pipetting white vinegar into baking soda and revealing colors underneath

Download Your Free Preschool Science Lesson Plan:

The Fizzy Colors Surprise experiment is an excellent opportunity for preschoolers to engage in scientific inquiry while having a blast with colors and textures (much like our most popular free STEM lesson plan The Floor Is Lava!). Through this hands-on experience, children develop their observation skills, make predictions, and have fun.

Remember, the most important part is to foster a sense of wonder and curiosity, so be sure to have fun and encourage open-ended discussions throughout the experiment.

Safety Note: Although this experiment is safe when conducted with adult supervision, please remind children not to ingest any of the materials used. Also, wearing safety goggles can add an extra layer of protection for their eyes.

So, gather your materials, put on your scientist hats, and let the fizzy colors surprise unfold! Happy experimenting!

As young children embark on their journey into school, they encounter a crucial concept known as the alphabetic principle.

alphabetic principle child playing with letter cars

What is the alphabetic principle?

The alphabetic principle is the understanding that there are systematic and predictable relationships between letters and sounds in language.

Basically, it is the idea that what we say and hear can be represented by letters and words! Understanding this idea lays is a key beginning step in literacy development.

*As an Amazon Associate I may get a small commission if you decide to purchase from my links. Thank you.

Why is the Alphabetic Principle important?

The alphabetic principle is the recognition that written words are made up of individual sounds, known as phonemes, and these sounds are represented by letters. It is the fundamental link between spoken language and written text.

The alphabetic principle allows children to decode words by associating the sounds they hear with corresponding letters or groups of letters.

Why do kids need to understand this?

The understanding of the alphabetic principle builds 3 essential skills for learning to read and write fluently:

  1. Phonemic Awareness: Mastering the alphabetic principle cultivates phonemic awareness—the ability to hear, identify, and manipulate individual sounds in words. This crucial skill enhances children's reading and spelling abilities.
  2. Word Recognition: When children understand the alphabetic principle, they can identify familiar words quickly and accurately. This skill enables fluent reading and builds confidence in young readers.
  3. Vocabulary Expansion: By recognizing letter-sound relationships, children can sound out and decode unfamiliar words, expanding their vocabulary and comprehension skills.

Tips for Teaching the Alphabetic Principle

Letter learning games teaching the alphabetic principle
boy isolating beginning phoneme
phoneme isolation and phoneme segmentation fish picture
magnet making words activity reinforces the alphabetic principle

Free resources to help reinforce the concept:

A kindergartner once told me, "Wow, Ms. KZ, the letters are all around us." It was that aha moment, that psychological paycheck that teachers live for. I want to help kids all over the world have success in reading and understanding that truly the world unlocks when literacy is achieved. Here are some more resources to help your little one see the words all around them!

  1. FREE 26 Letter sounds play dough mats (click the pic)
letter C playdough mat (set includes complete alphabet)

2. FREE Ending sound bingo game to enhance phonemic awareness (click the pic)

ending sounds post

3. Beginning and Ending Sound parking lots for car lovers! (This one is $4.50)

Buy now!
sound parking lot beginning independent reading activity
samples of 3 subtraction fact fluency challenges, level 1 subtraction within 10, level 2 subtraction within 20, level 3 subtraction within 30

Children are building subtraction fact fluency in kindergarten and first grade. This means they need to know and practice their subtracts "facts" quickly. How can we motivate children to practice their subtraction facts? I can tell you, it's definitely not with a subtraction facts worksheet. Just the thought makes me cringe!

Success comes through playing games like these Subtract and Stack Challenges. I've made 5 different sets of challenges that cover subtractions facts in three ranges:

*As an amazon affiliate I may receive a teensy commission if you buy something from one of the links in this post, at no additional cost to you. Thank you.

What is the definition of subtraction fact fluency?

To get to the nitty gritty, subtraction facts to 10 are any equation where something is subtracted from a number 10 or lower.

Subtraction facts to 20 are anytime a number is subtracted from 20 and the difference is a 1 digit number.

So technically, 20-5= 15 is not a subtraction fact, but 20-15=5 is a subtraction fact!

What does subtraction fact fluency mean?

Fluency is the ability to perform an action quickly, almost to the point of automaticity. Subtraction fact fluency is another way to say the ability to do subtraction problems quickly.

The word fluency also shows up in the common core math standards such as in this first grade standard you'll see printed on the stacking challenges:

"1.OA.6 Add and subtract within 20 demonstrating fluency for subtraction within 10."

As children do more and more fun subtraction challenges, they build their fact fluency!

Subtraction Fact Fluency Cup Stacking Challenges to print and play!

We all love a good print and play activity, and these subtraction stacking cups are the cream of the crop.

  1. Print the subtraction fluency stacking challenges (and ANSWER KEYS) at the end of this post.
  2. Laminate, only if you want.
  3. Grab 40 plastic/paper cups and write the numbers corresponding with each set. We love this set of 50 paper cups because they're sturdy and easy to write on. I've used these for years in the classroom, and they're still in fab shape.

If you've already purchased my Addition Stacking cups activities, then you can use those EXACT same cups for both challenges. Want them? When you check out there is an option to bundle the addition and subtraction fact fluency challenges (40 total) for a discount. It's too good!

Then you'll have 10 sets of ready-to-go addition and subtraction activities for kindergarten and first grade, that you have prepped in a total of 5 minutes maximum. Did I mention they include answer keys so kids can self check?

child self checking subtraction fact fluency using answer key
Self checking using the answer keys included

Download your Subtraction Cup Challenges Now!

The Addition Cup Stack builds fact fluency to 6, 10, and 20 through hands-on fun that no child can resist. Just print the 20 differentiated addition challenges for students of all abilities and grab your cups.

addition stacking cups numbers 3-10 stacked in three levels

*As an amazon affiliate I may receive a teensy commission if you buy something from one of the links in this post, at no additional cost to you. Thank you.

How to play Addition Cups Stack

It's all in the name. Add the numbers on the sheet, and then stack the cup with the matching number.

Kids will build many cup towers while mastering addition, in a ridiculously fun activity that they'll beg to play. Believe me, I had to pry my children off these cups in order to take the pictures in this post.

The 5 differentiated sets of stacking challenges are made to meet the needs of learners at varying levels. Choose from adding to 6, to 10, or to 20 for a super challenge.

laminated 5 sets of addition cups with all the colors of cups behind them

As a very loose guideline, this is how I use the cups:

Print out the 5 sets of challenges. Each will come with an answer key, so that kids can self check as they build, making this activity perfect for an independent math center.

To make the activity as kid run as possible, I laminated each set with its Answer Key on the back. So children will be able to self-check when they have completed a challenge.

Prepare the Addition Cups:

You know how sometimes you buy an activity and you just never use it because it's too complicated to do? This is the COMPLETE opposite. Easiest. Prep. Ever.

  1. Print the 5 sets of challenges. Optional: laminate them.
  2. Buy cups you can write on: Paper or plastic. To make all sets you'll need 36 cups.
  3. Write the numbers listed on the bottom of each paper on that set of cups.

These cups will be used for sets 1 and 2. Both sets work on sums to 6. (So for one child, you could use the same cups for sets 1 and 2.)

samples of 2 different challenges using the adding cups

These cups will be used for sets 3 and 4. Kids will make sums to 10 here. (Again, if you'd like to reduce waste, you can just use one set of cups for these.)

sums to 10 cups

These cups are for the final set 5, for practicing sums to 20.

sums to 20 adding cups stem challenge

To avoid the cups from getting mixed up in my classroom, I have written the numbers in different colored markers that match the set number on the challenge sheet. This way kids with the same numbers on their cups won't fight over whose is whose. -Phew!-

Let's get stacking

You'll get:

Peep that bonus to add the subtraction stacking cups for a discount when you bundle!

What are we learning?

Addition Cup Stack meets the common core standards for kindergarten and first grade.

Kindergarten Operations and Algebraic Thinking K.OA
Understand addition as putting together and adding to, and understand subtraction as taking apart and taking from.

  1. Represent addition and subtraction with objects, fingers, mental
    images...or equations.
  2. Fluently add and subtract within 5.

First Grade Operations and Algebraic Thinking 1.OA
Represent and solve problems involving addition and subtraction

  1. Add and subtract within 20, demonstrating fluency for addition and
    subtraction within 10.
  2. Work with addition and subtraction equations.
child doing the sums to 6 cups
Besides adding, my kiddo is figuring out how to balance and stack the cups to match the picture as well as determining the orientation of the cups! Lots going on.

Besides the obvious, addition, kids are learning how to plan out how to move things in space otherwise called motor planning.

According to, motor planning is "the ability to plan out, organize, and carry out an action." In this case it is the ability to think about how to stack the cups to match each challenge. Will the cups need to be flipped? Right side up? How can we balance them on top of one another?

As adults this might seem really simple, but many young children benefit greatly from activities that involve fine motor planning, like this free printable STEM challenge.

Wanting to keep stacking cups?

Did you love this addition STEM challenge? I know I did!

I've finally finished the subtraction cups that use the SAME numbered cups we have already prepped. So you'll just need to print and be on your merry way. Does that count as a life hack?

level 1 subtraction fact fluency example with 6 paper cups stacked in a pyramid based on the challenge of subtraction problems set forth below it

The original cup stacking challenge that inspired addition cups is actually a reading activity that went viral this year (2023). So if you're working on sounding out CVC words (consonant vowel consonant words), then be sure to check out this activity as well. I even included cups for the digraphs sh and ch to keep your kiddos challenged.

Why trace numbers to 20 with pencils, when you can use kid-approved vehicles to teach tricky numbers in a hands-on approach?

Find fabulous tips and tricks to teaching kids number formation and download number tracing mats at the end of this post for absolutely free!

*As an Amazon Affiliate, I may make a small commission based on your purchase at no extra cost to you. Thank you.

8 Hands-on ways to trace numbers to 20

Kids are often resistant to tracing numbers on a piece of paper. Here are some great ways to get children to practice writing these numbers in less traditional ways:

  1. Vehicle tracing with numbers to 20 road mats
  2. Shaving cream tracing
  3. Painting numbers with water/paint
  4. Salt tray writing
  5. Chalk
  6. Tracing on partner's back
  7. Air writing
  8. Play-doh number mats (also a great freebie!)
sample number mat 8

Vehicle Number Tracing Tips

Kids love the idea of tracing numbers with planes, trains, or cars. If you're using these mats for a whole class I highly recommend having a plethora of cars.

These are our favorite -and you get 36 in a pack. You can also write numbers on them with wet erase markers to make this activity a little more challenging. Kids can match the car to the correct tracing numbers mat.

And while you have those super duper cars, hop on over to grab your beginning and ending sound parking lots- my students' personal favorite phonics activity where they park these little cars in the spot that matches their sound. Hands-on and multiple uses? Heck yes!

tracing numbers to 20 teen number samples

Numbers to 20 Printable Poster

Lots of kids get stuck at those tricky teen numbers, so having a numbers poster that they can easily access can help them a lot. This poster can be used as a reference, hung on the wall or can easily be pasted in their math notebooks.

Or kids can use this 1-20 printable pdf in a homeschool environment, when tracing numbers to 20 with nontraditional materials (like in the list above). Click for the pdf.

numbers 1-20 printable pdf

Number formation rhymes

When kids first begin to write numbers independently, they may have some trouble remembering proper number formation. I made a video, showing one of the hands-on ways kids can trace numbers to 20, to share the rhymes that have helped my students the most.

These rhymes are extra helpful to say to each child as they trace their numbers to 10.

Watch them on Pinterest to easily save them for later.

Click to watch the rhymes on Pinterest

Download your free tracing mats for numbers 0-20

Make sure you print these in color and either laminate them or place them in sheet protectors so maximize their lives. If you love them, please give us a shout out on social media and tag @forwardwithfun.

It's a no brainer to use this adorable WANTED poster for your kindergarten winter writing project.

Gingerbread decorating is a common winter theme, along with the exploration of Gingerbread related stories, so let's keep with the theme and create our own WANTED poster.

*As an Amazon affiliate, I may get a small commission for purchases made through links in this post.

Literature based learning with gingerbread:

The Runaway Gingerbread man is a famous story, but did you know there are many stories that have runaway gingerbread characters?

My kindergartners and I love the following stories to compare and contrast the following gingerbread stories (all perfect to inspire winter writing!):

Kindergarten Winter Writing Project: My runaway gingerbread!

Before writing, students will need to create their very own gingerbread people to decorate. You can use the template from the second page of the Kindergarten Winter Writing PDF to trace the gingerbread shape onto a piece of construction paper. If you have brown printer paper, you can also print it on that.

Items you'll need to decorate gingerbread people:

Part 1 of Our Project: Decorate

Kids added the following to their gingerbread:

  1. eyes
  2. hat or a bow
  3. stripes of one color to the hands and feet
  4. buttons (candy)

Part 2 of Kindergarten Winter Writing: Label

Once our gingerbread people were dry, we chose our favorite color as a background for them. Then we discussed the most important parts of the gingerbread person. (This is a great opportunity to build vocabulary especially if teaching students who are still learning English.)

A great kindergarten writing prompt is labeling. (It also lends itself nicely to learning about diagrams, an important text feature in kindergarten.)

Labeling is very accessible to kindergartners because usually it requires the writing of only one word at a time, and children can usually name parts of different pictures on their own.

I use these labeling stickers from Target because they're super cheap ($1.99), and who doesn't love stickers?

winter writing in kindergarten gingerbread project

Part 3 of Kindergarten Winter Writing: WANTED Poster

I got the idea of doing a gingerbread wanted poster after reading these stories with my class in 2013. When making connections from the story to our own lives, a student retold the story of their dog running away and how their family made signs describing the dog to put up around the town.

This project was a spin on that idea. And it really makes a great "on the wall" kind of display to put up in the classroom or home.

kindergarten winter writing prompts
Download without watermark at the end of this post

Parents, if you're reading this, you might notice that when students are writing in my class, their words are not spelled correctly. They're spelled as they sound -phonetically.

The best kind of spelling to use at this age is phonetic spelling, and if you're curious about why I don't have kids spell things the "grown up way," I would highly suggest reading this post.

Before You Download:

I do share lots of free activities because teaching is hard enough as it is. In return please consider following me on Pinterest or Instagram to see more cute activities for you to use with your kiddos.

Try these 10 Free Number Mats to teach the numbers 1-10 in five hands-on, super fun ways.

When teaching my kindergartners numbers 1 through 10, I wanted them make the connection between the number and the quantity AND help teach them how to recognize and write the number.

Bonus points for making it fun... So I made these number mats for them and thought you could use them too!

number 5 sample number mat

These hands-on number mats teach each number through:

  1. Shaping the number
  2. Counting the quantity
  3. Identifying quantities that equal the number
  4. Tracing to practice number writing
  5. Independent number writing

What skills are being taught with number mats?

So much learning is happening just by playing to learn with just one number mat.

free number playdoh mats pin 1-10

The common core math standards we hit are:

  1. Write numbers from 0 to 20. Represent a number of objects with a written numeral 0–20.
  2. Understand the relationship between numbers and quantities; connect counting to cardinality.
  3. Count to answer “how many?” questions about as many as 10 things in a scattered configuration.
  4. Count to 100 by ones. (You have to start somewhere!)

How to best use your counting mats:

After printing your number mats, I highly recommend laminating them. My secret weapon is an AmazonBasics laminator that creates a thick, durable lamination for teaching resources I plan to use a lot!

sample number mat 8

Another option is to use a simple plastic page protector, but those are harder to erase. You can also print them out as single-use printables if you're in a rush.

These number mats are hands-on, so instead of just writing on them, kids are invited to use objects to really engage with each number. We use Play-doh to shape the number, so I love the laminated mats because the dough comes off easily.

Some supplies you might want to have are:

number 7 printable with supplies needed
There are many options for manipulatives to "show" each number.

Why do these number mats work so well for kids?

When learning numbers for the first time, kids are already receiving a lot of new input. At the very young age of 3-6 we expect them to memorize all these squiggles and lines, 26 letters- capital and lowercase plus numbers 1-20 in kindergarten. It's a lot!

Repetition is one part of the puzzle. In order to memorize a new number, kids need a ton of exposures to that specific digit. These exposures must be memorable! So a worksheet won't cut it.

number 3 playdough mat

The number mats I'm sharing with you are exciting for my students because they get to work with preferred objects, manipulatives, and use their minds in multiple ways while they work!

They're interacting with each number many times making it easier to remember:

I've said it once and I'll say it again, hands-on experiences are worth 1000 times more than a worksheet a child will do and forget by snack time.

My students LOVE these number mats, and they even ask to do them over and over again solidifying their knowledge and practicing their number sense as well as number identification skills.

Why stop at number mats? Check out these other fabulously free resources.

I'm sure you're working on letters as well. You don't want to miss these alphabet mats the kids go gaga for!

Teach coding in kindergarten with this free to print candy corn stem challenge. It’s so simple, you can do this with your whole class- all you need is a bag of candy corn! Let’s go.

Before you print, you’ll need to understand how to teach coding in kindergarten and why on earth we’re going to use candy corn to do it. So read on.

kindergarten coding candy corn stem challenge

What is coding in kindergarten?

Can a 5 year old learn coding? Of course they can! Most of the coding we teach in kindergarten is called directional coding as opposed to block coding.

Directional coding is coding that is giving directions very simply, usually through a series of arrows. This can be done on the computer or in an unplugged coding activity, such as this one. 

In this hands-on candy corn STEM challenge, kids will be using the candy corn as arrows as they practice directional coding to get from start to finish. Then they’ll test out their code, to see if it works!

Why is coding important in kindergarten?

Coding may not be part of the learning standards now, but I know it will be! The world is shifting to be more and more technologically centered, and many future jobs or even hobbies may rely on the ability to code. 

When we start coding in kindergarten, we build these future skills that children will need. It's like learning a language; the earlier you begin, the more fluent you will be.

Some benefits of coding in kindergarten:

Unplugged coding activities are done without a computer, so many kids can participate at once, building skills they'll need on computers.

Avoid this common mistake kindergartners make while coding:

The most typical mistake I see when I am teaching directional coding to kindergartners is the addition of redundant codes. When you are coding, if your arrow points down, you will not need another arrow until you want to change directions.

You should never have two arrows in a row that are pointing the same way.

example of redundant vs correct coding in kindergarten

Candy Corn STEM Challenge Guide

Supplies needed for the Candy Corn STEM challenge:

Basics of coding to teach your kindergartners:

Directional coding is about using basic arrows to direct your token item where to go. Only use an arrow when you are changing directions.

The only directions for our candy corn to point are:

Remember: there is no diagonal pointing here!

Lesson Plan: Candy Corn Coding in Kindergarten


Code a path from start to finish, using candy corn. Test out the candy corn code by following it with a token of choice.


  1. Use your candy corn to make a path through the grid to get to the end. Candy corn can only point up, down, left, or right. Only use a candy corn to change directions.
  2. Place a candy corn in the first square to direct your token in the right direction. (This should be pointing right.)
  3. When you come to a block in the grid, you'll need to add a candy corn to code a new direction that avoids the block.
  4. Continue using candy corn arrows to avoid all objects and direct your token out of the path to the finish line.
  5. Once your code is complete, use your token and follow the code to see if it indeed, leads you out of the grid. This can be done with a partner as well.

Answer key/code:

There is more than one way to complete the coding challenge. Here are the photos of the possible correct answers. Remember to pin or bookmark this page so you can check the answers against your kiddos' or simply follow their path.

Want the bundle of 6 additional Candy Corn STEM Challenges?

If you feel especially passionate about kids coding, or even just want to make an independent center out of this activity, I've made a bundle of 6 black and white coding printables for you.

Each printable has 2 or more solutions so you'll have 12 additional directional coding activities to do with your kindergartners, along with your freebie.

Grab the bundle of 6 kindergarten printable coding worksheets for only $1.50. If you're looking for just the FREEBIE, just keep scrolling! : )

Just want the FREE Candy Corn STEM Challenge to teach coding in kindergarten? Here you go!

Looking for more candy corn and Halloween activities to do with your 4-6 year olds?

Check out our post of simply delightful Halloween activities for your leftover candy corn. Please follow and tag @forwardwithfun on social media if you share this activity!

addition halloween activities for kindergarten

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