"הילדים מוצאים את הממתקים לידךְ."
Translation:The children find the candies next to you.
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I'm American and I'm not sure I could do a good job explaining what candy is. Candy is more specific than sweets at least to me it is. I think sweets can pretty much be used for anything that tastes sweet but candy includes things more like lollipops, suckers, hard candies such as butterscotch and many more things, and yes candy can be chocolate. I would not consider cake to be candy nor would I consider cookies to be candy. I hope this helps. Although, I think what I call a cookie they would call a cracker in the UK and in the US crackers aren't normally sweet so... Also I don't know if "sucker" is a term used in countries outside the US. They might call them "lollies" so I don't know how helpful this post will be to you, but just remember, when in doubt just call them "sweets."
Depends which English-speaking country you're from. Australians (and also, I suspect, the British) never use the word 'candies', and rarely 'candy'. 'Candy' is only used in specific contexts - eg 'candy-coloured clouds", but rarely as a noun on its own. Australians use the word 'lollies' or occasionally 'sweets' to refer to what Americans call either 'candy' or 'candies'. But sometimes when Americans use those terms, they really mean what we would call 'chocolate' or 'chocolates'. So simply equating 'candies' with סוכריות and 'candy/sweets' with ממתקים simply won't make any sense for non-American English speakers. I honestly can't differentiate the two.
Surely the etymology of ליד is from something like "available to the hand". But that's just etymology, we don't think of "hand" when we say ליד (it's actually surprising and delightful to Hebrew speakers the first time they hear about this etymology). It could have come to mean "near", "close"; but it so happened that Hebrew also has קרוב, and it so happened that speakers have preferred ליד for "very close" and קרוב for "close, not necessarily that close."
When you say that “The children find the candies beside you is wrong”, I think you mean that it wasn’t accepted, but I think it should have been. However, it was probably not accepted because “beside you” is not as common as “next to you”, so it likely didn’t occur to the Duolingo course creators to include it.
Always go with the most common form if you want less hassle.