Project Sweetie

Last week Sophia started playing a game in which she pretended to sell sweets in the garden. She made a sign (‘Roll up, Roll up. Sweets!’) and taped it to the top of a tall branch before taking it up to our driveway to be displayed next to our gate. She got frustrated at the lack of customers and her lack of actual sweets or money. Her imaginative play was blurring lines with reality and she was starting to get fed up and to be honest, I think a little confused with what she actually wanted to do or achieve…

So Dan came up with a good idea. He would help her make proper advertising, take her to the cash and carry to bulk buy some sweets, work out pricing and take her to a car boot so she could tout her wares (who couldn’t resist buying a bag of sweets from a cute 4 year old, desperate to play shop?!) She was ecstatic! I thought about it a bit and suggested that rather than buying some sweets we could make some to sell. I’m not sure who was more excited; Sophia at the idea of making her own sweets or Dan at the idea of Sophia seeing a ‘business’ through from beginning to end!

So today we chose some recipes and gave Dan a shopping list. Once we’d finished our ‘work’ for the day we attempted our first sweet recipe, a simple recipe from an old book to make little toffees. And it was an absolute, complete and utter fail! I’ve never boiled sugar before and did think it was odd that the only ingredients were sugar, water and vinegar but trusted the book and their picture of delicious looking golden brown toffees, topped with hundreds and thousands. We followed the recipe to the letter but unfortunately the end result was these…


Essentially, rock hard, clear, sticky lumps of boiled sugar….complete with hundreds and thousands! I almost broke a tooth trying to eat one. We’d had some leftover ‘toffee’ and I’d dipped apples in them but it made the apples impenetrable so I ended up chipping the hard sugar off the apples so the kids could actually eat the apples whilst Isaac moaned about having sugar stuck in his teeth.

toffee apple

toffee apple2

toffee apple3

However, despite me suggesting that we throw them all and start again another day, Sophia still insisted on trying to eat one of the original toffees. After a valiant attempt, more teeth picking and stickiness pervading every area of the table, she admitted defeat and agreed that we won’t be making toffees for her to sell! We’ve got ingredients to make fudge so she’s feeling optimistic (as am I!) about making some fudge on Wednesday.

It was a good learning experience though. Sophia often struggles with not getting things right the first time so it was good for her to see us trying something, not managing it, but still having fun. There was a lot of laughter as our treat was downgraded from homemade toffees to toffee apples to….apples on sticks! We were also able to talk about where we might have gone wrong, did we boil the sugar for too long, did we need extra ingredients, are they good for anything but the bin now?

So stay tuned to see how we get on with fudge later in the week. Once we have 2 or 3 good recipes under our belts, Dan is going to take over and talk about pricing with Sophia before making some signs and researching which car boot they could go to and how much it’ll cost them to have a table. It feels like quite an exciting project for all of us to be taking part in and the best bit is that it has organically evolved from imaginative play and is being developed and followed by Sophia herself, just with help from us where needed. I foresee Businesswoman of the Year in her future!




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