As a room mother in my daughter’s third grade class a few years ago, I asked her teacher if we could make a fun craft that would double as a sweet gift for moms, dads or grandparents. This assembly-line craft was such a hit, with both children and parents alike. I still have parents tell me how much they loved these jars, and most of them thought they were too pretty to open. I still have my daughter’s jar that I bring out to display every February!
The measuring and layering is a great hands-on activity, and allows for plenty of creativity. Ask for several parents to help, otherwise it can get messy. This works best when the room is divided into three or four stations, so that only a handful of children are doing an activity at one time. This project is like anything else, a little planning on the front end makes all the difference for a smooth operation. Have a few jars on hand for those students who may forget to bring one in.
Here’s how to do it:
First, send a note home to parents, asking that students bring in a clean pint-sized jar and lid for the Valentine’s Day party. (Don’t tell them what it’s for—it’s a nice surprise!)
Use your party money or send home a sign-in sheet for parents to donate the ingredients. For a classroom of 20 students, you’ll need:
- One 25 oz bag powdered milk.
- One 15 oz container of powdered non-dairy creamer.
- Two eight-ounce cans of Hershey’s unsweetened cocoa.
- One 1 lb box powdered sugar.
- Four or five bags mini marshmallows, pink and white (some children will bring in larger jars, so fill them up with marshmallows!).
- Two bags of pink and red m&m candies.
- Two bags milk chocolate chips.
- Four disposable foil cookie sheets or baking pans with rim.
- Four ¼ cup dry measures for powdered ingredients.
- Two funnels for powdered ingredients.
- Dollar Store disposable plastic gloves for all, or impeccably clean hands!
- Pink and red fabric (from old dresses and shirts), cut into 5-inch squares.
- Yarn, ribbon.
- Decorative artificial flowers, buttons, etc.
- 20 2”x3” gift tags, cut from colorful card stock.
- 20 printed recipe instructions.
- 2 Single hole punchers.
- Black Sharpie pens.
- Glue sticks.
Cut 3”x2” pink tags from decorative card stock.
Print out copies of the recipe on plain white paper for children to glue on to back of tags:
Combine contents of jar.
Add 1 cup of boiling water,
Stir well, and Enjoy!
First, set up your assembly line (in order) on a long table. The jar must be layered in the following order.
- Tray for cocoa
- Tray for white ingredients
- Tray for m&m candies
- Tray for chocolate chips
- Tray for marshmallows
- Large plastic bin or box for fabric squares, ribbons
- Separate small table for tags
Students are ready to assemble their jars!
- Measure ¼ cup of cocoa, and use a funnel to add to jar; pack it down so that it is caked to the bottom of the jar.
- Layer ¼ cup of the white powdered ingredients on top of the brown cocoa layer in the same manner.
- Children may use their hands to place a thin layer of chocolate candies on top of white powder.
- Then, add a layer of chocolate chips…
- Top off with marshmallows to fill the jar to the top.
- Secure lid tightly.
Each student then selects a fabric square to wrap around the lid; secure the fabric by tying a piece of yarn or ribbon around it.
At the next table, children may glue flowers or buttons on top of lid for decoration. Each student will choose a tag, glue the recipe on the back and write their name on the front with a black Sharpie.
Finally, use a hole puncher at the top of the tag and tie it to the ribbon on the jar…voila…a pretty layered gift jar that your students will be proud to take home!
Colleen Cadieux edits the blog for the Master in the Art of Teaching (MAT) Program at Marygrove College in Detroit. She admits she probably should have been a teacher when she grew up.