Edible Candy Spine
Have fun exploring your anatomy and the way your body works with this exciting craft. This Candy Spine activity can be made by anyone, but school-age children will especially enjoy it. Our spines (or backbones) are our body’s central support structure—it is what holds us upright. Our spines help us sit, stand, walk, twist, and bend. This edible activity is such a fun way to learn about your body and how it works!
Pull apart licorice or any peelable candy (like Twizzlers, Red Vines, or Licorice Whips)
Gummy Lifesavers or any round gummy candy with a hole in the middle (like peach rings!)
Hard mint Lifesavers
Before we begin, make sure your workspace is ready to go with all of your supplies placed on a flat surface. Because the items that we are working with are edible, it is a good idea to wipe down your work surface and make sure it is nice and clean before starting! Because we are going to be handling the candy, make sure to wash your hands really well too!
Step 1: First, take the hard mints out of their individual wrappers and place them in a group on your work surface. Make sure that none of your pieces are broken! I used eleven (11), but you can use as few or as many as you would like.
Tip: If you do not have the Hard Mint Lifesavers, you can use other round items that have a hole in the center. For example, pinwheel/wagon wheel pasta works really well too!
Step 2: Next, take your gummy candies out of their packaging and place them in a group on your work surface. Use the same number (eleven;11) of gummies as hard candies.
Tip: If you do not have Gummy Lifesavers, you can use other gummy candies that have a hole in the center. For example, peach rings work really well too!
Step 3: Unpeel your licorice into individual strands and place them in a group on your work surface. I used six (6), but you can use as few or as many as you would like.
Tip: If you do not have peel-able licorice, any other string like candy like RedVines or Licorice Laces works really well too!
Step 4: Now that all the elements are separated, we are going to begin constructing our candy spine! First, take two of your licorice strands and twist them together. To do this, line up the strands so that each of the ends are in line with one another. Then, wrap one of the strands around the other one, so that they form a rope or a braid! These strands of licorice represent the spinal cord and nerves. The spinal cord is a column or group of nerves that travels through the spine. Then there are branches of nerves that branch out through openings between the vertebrae. These nerves carry messages between your brain and the rest of your body!
Step 5: Next, we are going to add on a hard candy or mint. Take the licorice spinal cord that you have made, and thread it through the hole in one of your hard candies. Our hard candies represent the vertebrae (pronounced ver-ta-bray). If you run your fingers down your back, you’ll feel the protruding bones that make up your spine (also known as your backbone)! These interlocking bones are your vertebrae! You can think of vertebrae like beads on a string, able to bend, twist, and turn. If our spines were made of one long continuous bone, we wouldn’t be able to bend over!
Step 6: Now, we are going to add on one of our soft or gummy candies. Take the licorice spinal cord, and thread it through the hole in one of your soft candies. Pull the soft candy down so that it is stacked on top of the hard candy. These soft candies are going to represent the spongy cartilage (pronounced kar-tel-ij) discs. These flat, round cushions sit between the vertebrae and act as the spine’s shock absorbers. These discs also help the spine twist and turn, and they provide flexibility and stability.
Step 7: Once you have a hard candy and a soft candy on the licorice spinal cord, you can continue to stack on more candies, alternating in a pattern between hard and soft to build up the spine!
Step 8: Now that the main structure of your spine is constructed, we are going to add in the branching nerves. Take your licorice strands and pull them apart so that they break them into smaller pieces. Next, take these smaller pieces and insert them in between the hard and soft candies all along the spine. This will represent how the nerves extend from the spinal cord and reach out to other parts of the body!
Step 9: Now our candy spine is done! Take some time bending and moving this candy spine around. You can then compare this to how your own spine bends, twists, and moves around!
Step 10: Once you have explored and learned more about your candy spine, it’s time to eat it! Enjoy!
~Made by Wren P.