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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

Objective:

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

Directions:

  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

When trick or treating was cancelled due to Covid-19 in Los Angeles, I knew I needed to create an October full of Halloween activities for preschool and kindergarten in my home.

Halloween themed learning activities help me teach my kiddos with fun hands-on ways while also theming it up for my favorite holiday.

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

Some supplies you'll want to have handy:

The Big List of Halloween Activities for Preschool and Kindergarten:

Whether you're looking for math, STEM, reading, or just arts and crafts - We've got you covered!

Math Halloween Activities for Preschool

One to One Candy Corn Counting

This easy Halloween activity for preschoolers teaches number identification, and counting with one to one correspondence.

To help your little one really master counting and number identification you want to make sure you check out another one of our favorite activities: Punch Math.

counting candy corn halloween activities for preschool

Candy Corn Addition

Similar to candy corn counting, this activity may suit kindergarteners better as it incorporates addition.

addition halloween activities for kindergarten

For more fun beginning addition activities check out these hands-on domino games.

Pumpkin Number Sense and Rescue Game:

For some water play and counting get out those itsy bitsy pumpkins and write numbers 1-10 on the bottom of them in Sharpie. Fill up a container with water and stick them in so the numbers are hidden.

On a large piece of cardboard make ten circles and then draw 1-10 dots in each one. You can arrange like dice or any other way.

Grab some scooping devices from the kitchen and have your children rescue the pumpkins and return them to the correct number.

number sense halloween activities for preschool

Halloween Candy Counting Sensory Rice Bin

This was so easy and ended up becoming an October staple around here. I didn't even dye the rice I put into this bin (but if you want to do that, it only takes 1 minute and you can find out how here).

I just tossed some rice, candy corn, little Target pumpkin containers, and scoopers in a bowl for this epic play set up. Don't forget to put the tray inside a larger bin to avoid messes!

halloween activity for preschool

"Spin by Number" Spiderweb Craft

Do you remember dot to dot activities where you'd start at one number and create a picture by following the numbers in order?

This is a Halloween hands on learning version of that classic activity. All you need is a paper plate, marker, yarn, scissors, and a fake plastic spider.

Write numbers all around the plate, making sure they're out of order. The more numbers you have the more spiderweb-like the craft will look. After that, cut a small slit next to each number and insert a long piece of yarn behind the number 1, secured with a small knot.

The rest is super simple, follow the numbers to spin your spiderweb, going under and over, under over. Once you reach the final number, add your creepy crawly arachnid.

number recognition halloween activities for kindergarten

STEM Halloween Activities for Preschool and Kindergarten

Candy Corn Coding- (Halloween activity for kindergarten aged kids)

Candy corn- It might be gross to some, but it definitely screams Halloween, and I decided it's perfectly shaped to teach coding to Big Sis (4.5 years old).

Using a muffin pan or even a simple hand drawn grid, create a pathway from one end to the other.

The objective: Get the baby pumpkin to its parent.

The skeletons block the road, and the baby pumpkin could get lost, so we need to put out candy corn that point him in the right direction. The candy corn can only go left, right, up or down. The baby pumpkin will follow the direction of each candy corn.

coding halloween activity for kindergarten

To make this spooky Halloween coding activity a bit more challenging, you could kids remove the redundant codes (any candy corn that goes the same way twice). But since this was our first coding activity, I kept her design the way it was.

For Lil Sis (age 2+) I set out 3 adorable pumpkin cutouts each with it's own number. Then I gave her a cup of candy corn and asked her to put the right number of candy corn on each pumpkin.



STEM Candy Corn Catapult

Who doesn't love permission to send stuff flying? Create a stem catapult and launch that candy corn!

STEM halloween activities for preschool

Reading Halloween Activities for Preschool and Kindergarten

Read and Hammer Pumpkins

Grab a pumpkin pie or sugar baby pumpkin for this literacy activity. You'll also need a kid-safe hammer, golf tees, and a Sharpie.

For preschoolers: write letters on the pumpkin to practice letter identification

For kindergarteners: write CVC words or sight words on your pumpkin to practice decoding and sight word skills.

Halloween Scavenger Hunt Activity:

For kids already reading, try this FREE SCAVENGER HUNT. Hats off to this teacher mama, Christine, for sharing! I'm thrilled to easily print, cut, and play along with my kiddos this Halloween!

Arts and Crafts Halloween Activities for Preschool and Kindergarten

Pumpkin Stamping Halloween Art Activity

This easy Halloween craft is a classic. It never seems to amaze the little ones that an apple cut in two makes the perfect pumpkin stamp.

Squirt some WASHABLE orange paint onto a plate and you're ready to go.

I love to create a "buffet" of choices for decorating our pumpkins. For example I include googly eyes, green leaves, maybe a little stem cut out, and other shapes.

pumpkin stamping halloween activity

My one tip for Halloween crafts for preschoolers (or really any craft/art) is to really be as hands-off as possible. If we help them, they begin to think their version wasn't good enough. When kids create on their own, it might end up wonky, we empower them as artists.

Many kids get discouraged when it comes to creating art because their drawings/paintings don't look like what they wanted. However, if we emphasize effort and the process more than product, kids are more likely to enjoy creating art.

For more colorful fun discover my ultimate mom hack for mess free painting!

Pumpkin Painting - Kid Safe "Carving"

Let's face it, carving is a lot of work, and my kids want in on the fun. This is a SAFE way to get your kid pumpkin "carving."

Use blue painters tape to discuss shapes and your kid's vision for the Jack-o-lantern. Then, tape a face onto their pumpkin (or better yet have them do it).

Next kids get to paint over the tape and all around the pumpkin before waiting for it to dry.

Once it's dry, they can peel off the tape (which happens to be a wonderful fine motor skills activity) to reveal the face they made.

Try not to change or add anything to make it look more like your vision for the pumpkin. By leaving our kids' art as is, we show them that their art doesn't need to "fixed" to be beautiful.

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