Fun food crafting for older kids: marshmallow trees

Anyone who’s been on pinterest, or pretty much anywhere on the net cannot fail to have noticed the preponderance of  ‘sweetie trees’ that are available to buy and make.  The concept is pretty simple, a little flower or tree shaped structure, with a globe of sweeties on the top, such as this:

They are very popular, and great as gifts.  I had the idea of making some either with flowers or sweets (for the candy bar) for our wedding, so I purchased a quantity of polystyrene balls.  This is what makes up the interior.  During one fun day in our search for the perfect craft activity, my daughter happened upon these balls, and I told her what they were for.  She couldn’t wait to try.

Now, I hadn’t really thought about quite how the trees were put together, but I figured they had to be stuck on (or in) with something.  I later found out it is quite usual to stick the sweets on to a tinfoil wrapped ball with chocolate or sugar paste, or even regular glue in the case of wrapped sweets.  Me and Jess decided we would put the mini marshmallows we had (for possible baking adventures) onto cocktail sticks (which we cut in half) and stick them all over the ball.

And here is a taste of our finished product.  By the time we had stuck each mini marshmallow into the poly ball, about two hours had passed.  We had used approx 150 cocktail sticks cut in half, and around 300 marshmallows.  It sounds like long arduous task to undertake, but we had so much fun!  The time sat at the table breaking the sticks and pinning the marshmallows was repetitive and cathartic.  It gave us time to mess around and have fun, and chatter away, which is sometimes a more difficult task when children get older and are happy to play by themselves or with friends.  We actually couldn’t bear to part with it after we’d put so much work into it, so I sprayed it and put it on the shelf.  It’s not an activity I’d plan to do again the way we did, but sometimes the things you end up doing on the spur of the moment (and without really knowing what you are doing) can be the most fun.  I know we had a blast!

I’d definitely recommend trying making a sweetie tree with kids, but doing in the less labour intestive way using chocolate or glue.  If your child doesn’t lick it (as mine did), it also makes a great present, so you kill two birds with one sweetie tree.

Good enough to lick (plus my gorgeous boy playing Xbox)

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