I love peppermint and can eat it any time of year; however, Christmas, which falls conveniently at the beginning of “minter”, is my season to enjoy the memorable, sweet spice of peppermint. Just the smell of it puts me in a festive mood. I like to eat candy canes or even put them in my hot cocoa for a special treat. Peppermint even works great in cookies!
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This year I decided I wanted to create several thematic one day units to do with my children during this season. Units that were fun, but still educational, and would bring us together as a family. One of our themes is peppermint. There were already several activities that we enjoy that involve peppermint, so I simply had to gather them together for a day of fun.
First, we love the movie “The Candy Maker’s Christmas” and watch it annually with our SchoolhouseTeachers.com membership. The Legend of the Candy Cane (included free with Amazon Prime) is another great option. You could use the movies to start the conversation about peppermint and candy canes or my personal choice is to finish up the day with a movie and a peppermint themed snack!
When I think about peppermint snacks, my first thought is peppermint hot cocoa. It is a family favorite and so easy. Simply make some hot cocoa and add in peppermint candy or candy canes. You could even sub in peppermint extract, but my children love to watch the candy cane melt into the hot cocoa. You can make the cocoa from scratch or simply use packets. Whatever works best for your family.
If you want to try something different or add a little food to the snack, you could make sugar cookies and use crushed peppermint candy for sprinkles. My husband’s grandmother would always have the young one’s smash candy canes in a plastic bag as an ice cream topping. You could also try one of these fun peppermint snack ideas. The whoopie pies look very tempting. Of course you could always cut out candy cane shaped cookies and decorate them with red and white icing.
We always like to take the opportunity to add a little art to our unit studies. I love this fun mittens and mug lesson by Nana at You Are An Artist. It would be a great lead in to the hot chocolate and peppermint. These quilled candy canes are great for older children and could even be given as a gift. This thumb print candy cane would be fun for younger children.
Music is probably not the first thing you think of when you think of peppermint but if you wanted to add a bit of music to your study, the nutcracker is the perfect choice. The Russian dance of the Candy Canes is a great way to combine peppermint with music and dance. As we study through some of the nutcracker this year we are using Maestro Classic’s The Nutcracker. Played by the London Philharmonic Orchestra and narrated by Jim Weiss. Mrs. Mary over at SQUILT music also has a great Nutcracker study if you wanted to go deeper and learn more.
No unit study in our home is complete without books! There are many options, but the two that I am looking forward to using are Christmas in the Big Woods and Christmas Remembered. Christmas Remembered is a book of Christmas memories written by Tomie DePaola. One of those stories is A Candy Cane Christmas. Christmas in the Big Woods is a picture book based on the Christmas story from Little House in the Big Woods.
I hope that you are able to find some ideas here that are enjoyable to your family. Pick the ones that sound fun and always remember you don’t have to do everything. I would love to hear what ideas you have for a peppermint themed day and see pictures of your fun projects.
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