When it comes to edible jewelry, the candy necklace is king. Introduced in the late 1950s by Ce De Candy Inc., these sweet and fashionable treats have been adorning the necks of kids ever since. The basic premise is simple: tiny, O-shaped, multicolored candies on a piece of elastic that kids can wear and eat.
If you are looking for a more modern take on the classic candy necklace, have your kids try making their own "snacklaces" using alternative candy or healthier ingredients.
Here are a few basics to get you started on this project:
First, everyone needs to wash their hands. This step is important because these items are all going to end up in someone's mouth. Once everyone is clean and ready to go, choose materials for the base of your snacklace. Good options include twine, ribbon, elastic or even an edible option like thin licorice rope. Cut the string or ribbon into pieces that are 20 to 24 inches long. Make sure the necklace is long enough to pull up to your mouth to take a bite when it is tied around your neck.
Next, choose snacks for your snacklace. Don't limit yourself to candies with a hole in the center. If an item doesn't already have a hole for threading, use a child-safe plastic sewing needle or skewer to poke a hole in the candy. Tie one end of the string through the eye of the needle. Push the plastic needle through the hole you made in the center of the candy. The individual pieces will end up on your string. This technique works well for soft candies such as Dots, Gummy Bears, Swedish Fish, etc. Before you begin stringing, tie a knot at one end of the string so pieces don't slip off as you work.
Snacklaces can also be made from healthier foods. Try stringing
O-shaped cereals, popcorn or miniature pretzels onto your necklace.
Using a child-safe plastic needle, kids can use small pieces of
dried fruit (like cherries, blueberries, strawberries, cranberries,
etc.) to make nutritious snacklaces.
For older toddlers and preschoolers, consider using a nutrient-dense option like Happy Baby Organic Green Puffs. Little ones can work on their hand-eye coordination while stringing these puffs onto a piece of twine.
Once you have finished decorating your snacklace, tie a knot at the other end to hold all of the adornments in place. Tie the snacklace loosely around your child's neck and let the snacking begin. If you are using an edible base like licorice, remind kids to eat the snacks before they bite into the rope or the whole snacklace will come apart. Be sure to exercise common-sense caution and supervise children closely when they are wearing something around their necks.
Caitlin Murray Giles is a full-time mother of three and part-time freelance writer living in Wicker Park.
See more of Caitlin's stories here.