Sunday, February 8, 2015

Lollipop Tree Do-It-Yourself

A favorite childhood memory of mine was going to the yearly school carnivals.  One of the events at the carnival was a "Lollipop Tree".  The way it worked is that you bought a ticket for a chance to win a prize.  Then you went to the "Lollipop Tree", and picked the color you wanted.  You pulled the desired lollipop out from the tree and viewed the end of the stick.  If it had a mark on it, you won a prize!  If there was no mark, you learned to be content with your sugary, consolation prize.

The big prize always eluded me.  Ah, if I only knew then what I know now about PROBABILITY!  I would have said to the volunteer manning the event, "How many lollipops are there?"  How many lollipops have a mark on the end?"  Then I would have calculated how likely it would be to get the BIG PRIZE.  Maybe I would have decided to walk away and save my ticket for something that was "CERTAIN".

This memory inspired me to create my own version of the lollipop tree.  I thought I would share the DIY with you.  It's VERY easy to make.  It took me less than fifteen minutes to put it all together.  It's also INEXPENSIVE.  Best of all, your students will LOVE their classroom "Lollipop Garden".
Here's what the finished, "Lollipop Garden" looks like.
Instead of having a "Lollipop Tree", I decided to have a "Lollipop Garden".  I needed to get the supplies.  Number one on the list was the lollipops.  I found some pink and red ones at a Family Dollar store.  I purchased two packages.   I found a plastic party bucket in the Valentine section at Walmart.  I went to their craft/floral section and found a foam disk.  The foam disk should be at least an inch thick because a thinner disk might not support the lollipop sticks in the project.  The measurement which were on the label of the disk were 1.18 x 8.8 inches.  The measurements from the label on the party bucket were 9.875 x 9.875 x 8.5. 

The price of the party bucket was $3.98.  The price of the foam disk was $2.97.  The packages of lollipops were one dollar each.  My total expenses for this project  (not including taxes) was $8.95.
Here's what's needed to make the lollipop garden.
The first thing that I did was cut the lollipops apart from each other.  The perforation between each wrapper was not very good so I needed to use scissors.  For one dollar a package . . . . I'm not complaining!
Use scissors to cut the lollipop wrappers apart from each other.
If you want to use the "Lollipop Garden" for a probability lesson later on, you will need to mark the bottoms of some sticks.
This stick has a black mark on the end.
Leave the plastic wrapping on the foam disk.  Firmly push the foam disk into the opening of the bucket.  Don't attempt to push it to the bottom of the bucket.
Leave the plastic wrapping on the disk. 
The disk will stay near the top of the bucket.  It should fit snugly in the bucket.
Plastic bucket with foam disk inside.

 Take one of the lollipops and push it into the foam disk.
Push a lollipop into the foam disk.
Once you have put your first lollipop in, you're ready to add the others.  You will want to think about the space provided on the surface of the disk along with the number of lollipops you plan to use.  You might want to push some lollipops down further into the foam than others.  This way, your "Lollipop Garden" will show different levels of "growth".
I used 13 red lollipops.  There is room for plenty more.  

Your students will be excited to have a "Lollipop Garden".  The "Lollipop Garden" is not just for Valentine's Day.  A spring themed bucket could be used with colorful lollipops taking this activity into the months of March, April, and May.   We added some artificial flowers to the display.

"Lollipop Garden" with artificial flowers.

 Here are a few ways you could use the lollipop tree garden in the classroom.

Probability:  Here is an experiment that you can try with your students.  This what you need to do to stage the event.  First, you will need to have the same number of lollipops as is the number of students participating.  Make this an even number.  Add one additional lollipop when there is an odd number of students.  As a result you will include yourself in the activity.  Next, mark half of the bottoms of the lollipop sticks with a permanent marker.  If you have 20 lollipops, 10 sticks will be marked.  Put the lollipops in the "Garden".  Then have each student withdraw a lollipop from the disk.  After all of the lollipops have been withdrawn, discuss the results with the students.  The event could be modified by changing the number of marked and unmarked sticks.

Collaborative Reward System:  Put together the bucket and foam disk.  Leave the lollipops out.  Tell the children something like, "Let's grow a garden of positive behavior."  As students are caught being good, add a lollipop to the "Garden".  The goal is to have enough lollipops for every student.  When there are enough lollipops for the whole class, everyone withdraws one.
Dramatic Play/Fine Motor Development: This activity is for prekindergarten and kindergarten.  For this center, I would use "fake" lollipops instead of real ones.  There are lollipop sticks available at craft stores.  Construction paper circles could easily be taped to the sticks.  Put the "Lollipop Garden" in a center area.  Allow the children to pull the lollipops in and out of the holes rearranging them as they desire.  

"Lollipop Sundae"

I found another method of making the "Lollipop Garden" that was even cheaper than the first method.  It took about 5 minutes to make it.  I found plastic sundae dishes in the Valentine section at Walmart.  They had red and pink.  I purchased one red sundae cup.  At the craft/floral section I found a foam semi-circle.  Since I did not use the pink lollipops for the first project, I did not need to purchase additional ones.  The plastic sundae cup was $1.48.  The foam semi-circle was $.97.  The project was less than $2.50 . . . . but if you included a pack of lollipops, it would be $3.50.  What a deal!

There is limited surface space on the semi-circle.  I was able to push 14 lollipops in.  There was enough room to put a few more.  If you have a large class and are trying to have enough lollipops for each student . . . . this won't work.
Materials use to make a "Lollipop Sundae"
I used the same steps as with the "Lollipop Garden".  I put the foam semi-circle into the sundae cup.  Once again, I did not remove the plastic wrapping from the semi-circle.  It was a perfect fit.  It shifted from side to side.  If that is an issue, use some hot glue to make it stick inside.  I did not take time to glue.
Put the foam semicircle into the sundae cup.  Use glue if desired.

Then I pushed 14 pink lollipops into the foam.  Voila!  Simple, affordable, and fun for the kids on Valentine's desk.  Set it on your desk and use it for a probability activity, reward system, or for any number of possibilities.
I put 14 lollipops into the sundae cup.  There was enough space to fit a few more.
Lessons by Molly © 2015  All rights reserved.

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