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STEM Activity: Sweet Decision-Making

STEM Activities

The next time you’re serving sweet treats — like at a birthday party, sleepover or family movie night — here’s an idea that can make sharing snacks even more fun: Satisfy your sweet tooth as you set up your very own candy shop at home! You can learn about the power of decision-making and entrepreneurship as you have fun with family and friends.


Materials Needed

  • Cups (small ones if possible)
  • Markers
  • Play money or tokens
  • Poster board, or a piece of paper or cardboard
  • Sweet treats (pieces of candy, bubble gum, etc.)
  • Trays or other flat containers for carrying cups


Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Place one to three pieces of your candy or other sweet treats into 10 to 15 different small cups.
  2. Arrange and display the cups on a table or counter as if in a candy shop.
  3. Select a form of money or tokens. You can use play money, but small items like marbles, blocks or other trinkets can be used as a form of currency as well.
  4. Use your imagination and your poster board, paper or cardboard to make fun, colorful signage for your shop. Consider giving your business a name and using your markers to create a unique logo!
  5. Price your sweets according to how much currency is available, and give your family or friends each the same amount of “money” (the items you have chosen as your currency).

    For example, you could set a price for each of the cups between $5 to $10 and give each person a total of $50.
  6. Offer each person a tray for collecting their sweet treat cups, and let the shopping and decision-making begin!
  7. Enjoy your treats together.


What Are We Discovering?

Responsible decision-making is a key part of the social-emotional learning that children can develop through play. During children’s developmental years, many choices are made for them, such as going to school or the dentist, and this is important for structure and establishing good habits. When decision-making is handed over to the child, however, they are empowered to make own their selections, establishing confidence, agency and capability.

With every decision, there is an outcome. The more opportunities a child is given to make decisions, the more they will understand the consequences of their decisions, both good and bad. Responsible decision-making develops through age, experience and practice, like buying a car, making purchases with a credit card or launching an entrepreneurial venture. In low-risk activities like buying sweet treats, the stakes are low, the play is fun and the outcome is delicious!


Keep the Fun and Learning Going!

To find more fun, at-home STEM activities for your family, check out our blog!

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