Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Well, Would You Look at That!

A couple of weeks ago a boring shopping trip for some colored marshmallows turned into a little kitchen experiment.  Marshmallows were added to my weekly shopping list in order to use them for an upcoming project at school.  After searching through three stores for the multi-colored ones I came up empty handed at the end of the day.  Where were all the marshmallows?  That evening my friend Stephanie picked me up on the way to meet some people for dinner.  I talked her into taking me to one more store to see if I could find some. There weren’t any there either.  Steph talked me off the ledge and into buying a bag of the white ones and making them work.  When I told her the paper for the project would be white and the marshmallows wouldn’t stand out, she said I should change the paper.  Fine…

When I returned home from dinner later that night, the white marshmallows were still bothering me. I was not the least bit interested in changing the color of the paper but wondered if changing the color of the marshmallows was an option, hence the experiment…
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Since marshmallows are pretty porous, I tried dying them with food coloring.  I mixed about a half cup of water with about 6 drops of food coloring.stuff 160

In small batches, I dropped the marshmallows by the handful into the dye and stirred around for about 10 seconds.

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Using a slotted spoon, the marshmallows were removed from the bowl and dropped onto a paper towel to drain and dry.  They were extremely sticky, but dried fairly quickly.  Even after drying, the marshmallows were still very soft.

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I made about five batches of each color.  They turned out great – brighter than even the store bought ones.

The two weeks leading up to the class project my students had been working hard learning about the basic concepts of multiplication.  Multiplication readiness is always fun to teach because the kids are very excited to learn it, plus the practice opportunities are fun.  The marshmallow project was a hit.   stuff 170 stuff 176stuff 175
The colored marshmallows were used to demonstrate an understanding of arrays.  See, they couldn’t have been white!  stuff 178

This project is always fun and makes a cute bulletin board.  It’s nice to know too that next time the store is out of colored marshmallows, I don’t have to run all over town.  I can just make my own. 

stuff 177On a side note, I received this from a friend that weekend.  Hmmmmm


  1. Since you seem to be sticking them to the paper and not eating them wouldn't cotton balls do. Mind you the sweets would concentrate the mind like cotton could never no matter how colourful.

    1. Yes the marshmallows are motivating and cute. Normally I let the kids have one or two at the start so the concentration to the work can return, but it was a busy morning and I forgot to do that. No one seemed too distracted except for one who kept looking at them longingly and on the way out of the room on our break I noticed she pulled one out of her pocket. They were just too much to ignore. :)

  2. Very cool! A fun way to learn...and they do look so bright!

    I couldn't use food on art I keep in class because the mice eat it!! Last year they ate the marshmallows off a student's 100th day project...ghak!

    I love the OCD/CDO note :)
    Happy Wednesday!

    1. Oh no! Luckily no mice in my room (knock on wood anyways).
      Two more days til spring break. Two more long days.

  3. I'm impressed by your diligence and think your colored marshmallows are much nicer than the store bought variety.

    1. I love the way they turned out. I may make them that way all the time now. :)