We’ve been having a crazy winter here in New Jersey this year. Lots of icy cold weather with plenty of snow makes for pretty landscapes – but it also makes for stir crazy kids.
There are only so many outdoor winter actives one can do with the kiddos, especially when the temperature dips below the freezing mark. I try and have a few, fun indoor activities up my sleeve for the days I think I’ll lose my mind being stuck inside the house with two very energetic boys.
It saves my sanity to plan ahead, and it’s fun to try new things out.
Recently, we decided to make homemade bubble gum. My kids aren’t really into chewing gum so much yet, but I figured it would be a great opportunity to do something science and history related (check out my Gum History Facts at the bottom of the post!). When the end-result is something sweet, they are usually happy.
This activity does require adult supervision because the gum mixture gets very hot. Your best bet is to let the kiddos do everything but melt and mix the gum base (I labeled what steps are best done by adults below).
This activity is best for kids ages 8 and up, but there are definitely steps that the smaller ones can do. I tried this with my 5-year-old and he loved it.
All of the ingredients can be purchased in your grocery store with the exception of the powder flavoring and gum base pellets. Those items can easily be purchased online or at many local craft or baking supply stores. You can also very inexpensively purchase gum making kits online, which come with all of the necessary ingredients in one neat little package.
Homemade Bubble Gum
1/2-1 cup powdered sugar
1/3 cup base gum pellets
1 tablespoon powdered flavoring
2 tablespoons corn syrup
Small, microwavable container
Wooden popsicle stick
1. Place 1/2 cup of powdered sugar onto a piece of waxed paper.
2. Place 1/3 cup of gum pellets into a small, microwaveable container.
3. Add in corn syrup and powdered flavoring.
4. (Adults or teenagers) Microwave the mixture in 10 second intervals, stirring in-between, until it is fully melted.
5. (Adults or teenagers) Make a well in the center of the powdered sugar (like you do when you make homemade pasta), and pour the hot gum mixture into it.
6. (Adults or teenagers) Work the powdered sugar into the gum mixture by stirring the mixture with the wooden stick to avoid burning your hands. Keep working the powdered sugar into the mixture, using more if necessary until it will no longer absorb any more sugar. You can switch to needing with your hands as the mixture cools, and even have the kids do the final kneading.
7. Then, break the gum into small pieces and wrap it in rectangles of waxed paper, twisting the ends to seal and keep the gum fresh.
Your basic, finished piece of gum will look like this.
But, if you’d like to add some additional flair to your gum, cupcake wrappers make for fun and easy adornment.
Here’s how to do it:
1. Place the gum into the center of the wrapper.
2. Press the wrapper down to flatten.
3. Roll the wrapper around the gum.
4. Twist the ends until the gum is secured tightly.
And Now, a Quick History of Gum
- In 1200 A.D., the Aztecs chewed chicle – the sap of the sapodilla tree
- In 1869, the first patent on chewing gum was filed
- In 1948, sugarless gum was invented
- Now, more than 3.74 trillion sticks of chewing gum are produced annually (Source)