Christmas Candy Cane Estimation

You may have seen my previous post about estimating with markers. These are my candy cane estimation jars for Christmas.

Christmas Estimation Jars

As you can see, I use 4 jars. Three jars show the children how different amounts of candy canes look in the jars, and “teaches” them to make a better guess. The last jar has a question mark on it, and this is the estimation jar.

  • The first jar had one candy cane in it with a numeral 1 taped to the front.
  • The second jar had three candy canes with a numeral 3 taped to the front.
  • The third jar had six candy canes with a numeral 6 taped to the front.
  • The last jar had ten candy canes with a question mark taped to the front.

I left these jars on a table near our math center for about 3 days. It was not easy for the children to look at those candy canes every day and not be able to open the jars and eat them!

After the children had an opportunity to come up to the jars and look at them for a few days, we made a chart to write down their guesses. I wrote each child’s name on the chart with their guess beside it.

We had a talk first about what it means to estimate or guess. I told them that we would count the candy canes afterwards, but I emphasized that no answer was wrong. All answers are right when you guess– it’s just a guess.


After everyone’s guess was written on the chart, we counted together as each candy cane was taken out of the jar and lined up in a row on the whiteboard ledge. The number in the jar was 10. As you can see, several of my prekinders said 10. Some of the children were actually able to count the candy canes rather than guess, so the next time I do estimation jars, I will use a larger number.

Other ideas for Christmas estimation jars: try using Christmas tree ornaments or gift bows.

Before you ask: Yes, the jars are plastic! :) Not glass. From Walmart. In the kitchen section. (I know someone will ask.) The children are not able to open these very easily because of the tight seal.

Oh, and one more thing…

Just wanted to show off my classroom snowman door. :) I admit, I’m not fond of decorating doors, so this is a once-in-a-year thing for me. I plan to leave this up through January and change the holly on his hat to a snowflake.

Snowman Door Decoration


  1. Gwen says

    Love it! Can use this idea with my first grade Science class to enhance what they are learning about how light helps them identify colors. I could put a single colored item in one jar, put two identical colors and one different in another jar, etc. Then in the last jar have many colors. Have them guess how many items have the same colors, which color is the most used in the jar, etc.

  2. Karen says

    Thanks great idea, I’m gonna give gift bows a try. I don’t have nice jars like yours, but until I upgrade I’m using washed out Miracle Whip jars.

  3. Mariann says

    I love decorating our classroom door but have been told by the Fire Marshal that we can no longer place flammable (paper) articles on our doors. So sad. :(

  4. Mercedes Curaca says

    Love both ideas! Thanks for sharing. I always enjoy opening your emails to see whats new. Wishing you the best for the Holidays. Be safe and healthy.

  5. Susie says

    I love the way you gave the children support by provided three jars with the correct number written on them. I love the door too, but I am not that ambitious. Thank you for both.

  6. Michelle says

    You have the best ideas!! I find myself checking your website all the time. Thanks so much!!! Have a great holiday!!!

  7. Fud says

    I like the estimate idea . Did they get to eat the candy? Also cool snowman….I plan to use my bathroom door/ entrance as a tree trunk with branches coming off it. I’ll then get kiddies to color leaves and fruit whenever the feel to add them to their tree. Will show you the results!

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