This is one of those projects that sounds easy in the planning stage - just divide out a batch of homemade gummy solution (I like the "easy peasy" recipe from Not So Idle Hands) into squeeze bottles, so that instead of pouring it into molds, the children can squeeze it out into all kinds of creations - simple right?
In fact, it is just that simple, except that as it turns out, the steps are a little more time consuming and labor intensive, than they sound. My youngest five (ages 6-14) plus a visiting friend (age 12) gave this activity such a positive review though (their only suggestion for improvement was to double the batch of gummy solution, so they could make even more creations), that I decided to go ahead, and share it.
...mix 6 and 1/4 Tablespoons of water, with 1 envelope of unflavored gelatin, and 2 tablespoons of regular (not sugar-free) flavored gelatin in a squeeze bottle, that can withstand being dipped into boiling water without melting.
The amounts listed above will make one regular batch of gummy candy, divided into six bottles. We added a different color/flavor of Jell-O to each bottle, so we'd have plenty of colors to choose from, but that's really up to you. A three ounce box of regular flavored gelatin holds about 6 Tablespoons of powder. We bagged up the leftover powder, one bag per flavor, for future projects.
Let the gelatin and water mixture sit for about 10 minutes, until it's "foamy" and somewhat solid.
Carefully dip each bottle into hot water (we boiled ours in an electric kettle, and poured it into bowls). Supervise children carefully on this step, to avoid burns.
Stir the gelatin (we used a butter knife to reach down into the bottles) until it is completely melted, and mixed.
Then, pop the open bottles into the refrigerator for about 20 minutes, checking every minute, or so for the last five minutes...
...until the gummy solution is thick enough to not quite be a liquid, but still thin enough to squeeze out of the bottle. If you get it wrong, and the gummy solution is already too thick, simply run the bottle under hot tap water for a few seconds, to thin it back down.
Give each child a plate, and let them squeeze out gummy designs.
Once dry, their creations will lift right off the plates...
...and can be eaten. I prefer gummy candy after it's had a few hours, or even over night to dry, but it rarely gets the chance to sit that long in our house.
The candy will continue setting up inside the bottles as the children are squeezing it out, so be prepared to run the bottles under hot water every so often. If you over-melt the candy, and it is too thin, just place the bottle into the freezer for a minute or so.
And, you will probably need to remove, and unclog the nozzles a few times, as well. Just run the water over...
...and then through the nozzle, to clear it.
Even "empty" bottles still hold quite a bit of candy. Before you wash them out, run them under hot water one last time, to melt all the candy you can...
...and pour it into molds (or mini-muffin tins in a pinch)...
...for a bonus batch of gummy candy to save for
It's great to be a homeschooler.