My daughter is at an age (3 years old) where she needs to be kept busy so I try to engage her in activities that have a dual purpose. For instance, I needed favors for a baby shower. Why not have her make them? In this case, since the shower was for her aunt, no one was going to be fussed if they had a lump or two since it’s the thought that counts.
Surprisingly, candy making with kids is easy! You can take candy making classes, but there isn’t a need as it’s so simple, especially when your goal can’t be perfection.
Getting Started Making Candy
Wilton makes tons of candy and lollipop molds that can be found online and in stores across the USA. If you want to make lollipops, however, make sure you are buying an actual lollipop mold as they provide for the stick to be inserted. I learned that the hard way.
Pick out a mold. Michael’s has a big selection as does Amazon. Some of the candy molds yield pretty big candies, so take that into consideration when you buy.
Choose candy melts. You can buy white and color them, but it’s so much easier to just buy them colored. Less mess too. A young child isn’t going to have the ability to detail the candies in multiple colors so you’ll be good with one or two colors, maximum. Get a variety for the older kids.
Buy a small brush. If you choose to buy the Wilton Mini Ceramic Candy Melting Set, it comes with brushes.
Consider ceramic cups. It is not necessary that you have a ceramic candy melting set, but the heat from the ceramic cups helps keep the candy melted. It will save you a few trips to the microwave.
How To Make The Candy
Even with a 3-year-old (my daughter’s age at the time we first did this), it’s easy.
- Put the candy melts in the microwave. Your job as a parent is to monitor the temperature. I never let them get really hot, just warm enough to maneuver into the molds. This is where the ceramic cups come into play (and, yes, these can get hot so monitor them too). They keep the candy warm enough to handle a 3-year-old taking forever to make one candy.
- Scoop candy into the mold. La Jolla Girl (sometimes with my help) uses her brush to scoop a big lump of warm candy melts into the mold.
- Pressure candy into the mold. She then moves the brush up and down to push the candy melt into every crevice so they don’t have air pockets.
- Lift the mold up. Check the candies for air pockets. If there are any, use the brush to mush them out. She’s 3, so it isn’t going to be perfect. There’s brown in the photo below because we colored the giraffe’s feet brown. Then she wanted to apply it elsewhere, so I let her.
- Smooth the back of the candies. Before the candy sets, you can take a knife or icing spatula to the back of the candies to smooth them out. This is optional.
- Put the mold in the freezer. When finished, the candies will come out much easier if you put the mold in the freezer for a bit. Take the candies out of the mold.
- Smooth rough edges. If there are little flakes on the edges of the candies that need to be removed, just lightly run your (clean) fingernail over it and they’ll glide off. I was shocked by how good they looked the first time we made these candies.
For a baby shower, we decided to make little hearts and package them like this.
Older kids would have a blast making these candies multi-colored. I would have. Think about all the instances where homemade candy made by your dear child might come in handy including:
- Halloween candy for a school or other party (Wilton has candy skulls, candy pumpkins and more).
- Valentine’s Day notes. You can wrap a lollipop in cellophane and tie a card around a stick with a red bow.
- Christmas, Easter and other holidays.
- Dessert for playdates. Or if you’re hosting a play date, help the kids make them.
I always keep a few different colored Wilton Candy Melts around just in case we have a spur of the moment candy making session.