Candyland – The biggest, coolest board game to do “life size” is pretty popular at my library. Our system has a cardboard version that travels to all of the branches. Kids love it, but I hate it because it uses a newer version of the Candyland characters that are quite ugly. The first year we had it in the library I think in February. As I was still pretty new I was tasked with keeping a list of the next set of people to play and letting them in the door when the current round ended. This year I was “in charge” of Candyland and I didn’t want to use the version we had so I set out to make my own.
As I knew most kids didn’t know old characters from new characters I figured I could really use whatever I wanted as long as it seemed to fit the candyland theme. I started by making some awesome necklaces from gingerbread cutouts that were painted and sprayed with glitter finish in red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, and pink. The kids had something cool to wear and I could refer to them as “player red” instead of trying to remember names. I also made some changes to the game play for my ease when playing with 7 players, I would have liked to make dice or a big spinner, but I made a big deck of cards as it is a little easier to manipulate so that the really little kids don’t get lost in the back of the board. And actually I think next time I will have two decks of cards so I am not trying to shuffle and get the next batch of kids ready at the same time.
I removed the spaces with the dots that require drawing of another color, as with groups of 7 I don’t want kids sitting out for more than a turn or two. Instead, I created some “lose a turn” cards with a licorice border and said the kids were stuck in Lord Licorice’s trap until the next turn. If I drew where a kid would be stuck twice in a row I usually lied and said move to the next red square. I put special markers on tiles in front of some of the character areas, but not all of them as I thought it created too much backward movement last year. My goal with this version of candyland was to make it a little more interactive and intuitive for the players and the person running it.
Our board was made of the interlocking foam tiles you can purchase for infant rooms because I happened to have those at my house. I didn’t connect them though, as it is easier to fit multiple kids on the tiles and make curves in the board if you don’t connect them. I made “life size” cutouts of different characters and set them up in the room in this order.
1. Red, green, and orange gummy bears in gummy bear glen.
2. Princess Lollipop (supposed to be in lollipop flower fields, but I didn’t finish in time)
3. The bridge! (A $4 piece of particle board I bought and rested over some boxes of copier paper.) I would love to upgrade to a fancier bridge if I can build one.
4. Lord Licorice
4.5 The rainbow crawl tunnel connecting two spaces which was a huge hit!
5. Mr. Mint in the peppermint forest (an artificial tree with laminated peppermint ornaments) At his station I placed 7 round peppermints that were almost 1 foot in diameter to match the size of the tiles and had the kids hop from one peppermint to the next.
6. King Candy
7. Candy castle holding a bowl of candy for the end of the game.
Well I may have been a little too ambitious with candyland and some surprise lack of off-desk time as I barely finished the castle in time, but it was done and looked passable and the kids had a blast. I ran players through Candyland non-stop for 1.5 hours and estimate that was about 75 players.