Sunday, March 22, 2015

Life-sized Candyland

What's more fun than Life-sized Candyland?? Don't answer that. The answer is nothing. (Well, ok, I'm sure you could think of other things. But trust me, this was fun, too.). 

I set up a life-sized Candyland board in our meeting room last month for families to play on together. This is the second time I do this program and let me just pause for a second and say "THANK GOD I saved the things from last year!!" A cancelled flight, a sick day, and a snow day gave me about 8 hours to set this sucker up (for reference, I set up and took down all by my lonesome) and I DID IT. 

Here's the set-up from this year:

Yup, that's Olaf hanging out with Queen Frostine. Someone donated an Olaf for our Frozen sing-a-long, and I thought Frostine might want a friend. Also, they are both all about snow. So that's something. 

I set up foam squares around the room to make the path and placed various special characters around the room along that paht. Candyland aficionados will recognize characters from various versions of the game. Honestly, I made the big character boards by putting Candyland clipart into large poster-sized Publisher files, printing, and carefully taping together, so I needed character images that wouldn't blur under this re-sizing. These are those images. 

Here's Jolly, one of the first ones you run across in the board. I used boxes in a pile covered with a tablecloth and a couple of gummy cut-outs (using sparkly foam!). Every special space was made with four foam squares to make it clearly visible. The gumdrops are the image on the card (more on that in a minute) that would direct you to Jolly. 

Here are some more of the characters: 

Mr. Mint. 

Grandma Nut. 

Princess Lolly.

King Candy at the end. 

Each family received a bag with a spinner, a small stack of cards (two cards of each special space) and instructions. The spinner had the following sections: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, "Take a card" and "Double jump!". If they spun "Double Jump!" they were instructed to spin again to discover which color they were to jump twice (like the double square card in the game). If they spun "Take a card" then they picked a card from the bag and went to that particular location.  I found this easier than handing everyone a huge stack of cards. Caveat: It took me a while to make spinners last year, but this year it was a breeze since all I had to do was take them out of the box. 

Whoever reached King Candy first could take a prize. There was also candy at Jolly and at Mr. Mint, since I had leftover candy that fit their specific candy type. Kids could take one the first time they passed these characters. 

I let four families play at a time on a first-come-first-served basis. For those who were waiting, I set up three tables outside the meeting room with crafts. Last year. I had coloring sheets, licorice and fruit loop necklaces, and paper gingerbread men. This year, I had coloring sheets, paper lollipops, and Candyland BINGO. Both sets of crafts were equally successful as far as popularity, but I felt the potential for germs, etc., as everyone handled the licorice ropes and the fruit loops was just too great, so I axed that craft this year. The BINGO was equally distracting for those who were waiting. 

Another tweak from last year to this year: last year I used construction paper squares that I stapled to our carpet. Big pain the a$$. HUGE pain. Not only did the squares come up all the time (so I had to spend a bunch of time during the program trying to staple them back down), but getting them all up (and picking up all the staples) at the end of the program was far more effort and annoyance than it was worth. I asked for foam squares as part of the year-end wish list requests and it got granted! (Yay!) Everyone was thrilled with the squares and several patrons took the time to comment about how much better they were. If you have tile floor, this may be different for you - maybe tape would work. After all, the construction paper just came out of the supply closet and was therefore free, so if you can make it work for you, that's definitely more budget-friendly. 

If you can get volunteers to help you set up and take down: DO IT. You can also use volunteers to help you run the game, as it is best to have at least two people there to help with crowd control.

This was very popular with parents and kids (many played more than once) and was, after the hours of set-up and take down, a lot of fun for everyone including me. 

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