We did a Life Size Candyland event in December at our Oakland and Leesburg branches, and it was SO FUN! Before I go any further I have to mention that these events would not have been possible without the hard work of my teen volunteers! They colored, cut, painted, and brainstormed ideas, in addition to preparing their own costumes! This community is very lucky to have such caring and enthusiastic young people.
Another “thank you” goes to everyone who had a Candyland event at their library and/or a Candyland birthday party. I really think I looked at every single Candyland thing on the internet in preparation for this event (I even made a Pinterest page). Special thanks goes to Miss Mollie at What Happens in Storytime for her writeup, which I found extremely helpful.
When each player entered, Miss Gingerbread helped them to decorate a paper lunch bag with a gingerbread house coloring page glued to the front. We did three crafts as part of the game (a lollipop with Lolly, a pipe cleaner candy cane with Ms. Mint, and a pipe cleaner snowflake with Princess Frostine). The bag gave the kids a place to store their goodies while they played the game.
Like Mollie, I decided to use a spinner for the kids to advance through the game. I used the one that Mollie linked to in her post (see above). I also used most of the text from her “How to Play”. The spinner was printed onto cardstock and colored with markers, then cut out and laminated. The arrow is black chipboard and is attached with a brad. I used clip art to make my own “pink space” cards. All of this was placed into a quart sized ziploc bag.
The spaces were pieces of construction paper taped onto the floor with scotch tape. Before the event, I was very concerned (like, waking up at night) about having to replace paper during the game, but it turned out that it wasn’t that big of an issue. I even reused most of the paper on the second day. For the pink spaces, I just used the same clip art that I used for the cards and glued it onto a pink piece of construction paper.
For me, what made this event so much fun was the teen volunteers who dressed up in character and interacted with the kids as they made their way through the game. Gramma Nutt (yes she was actually knitting! Adorbs, right?) handed out toothbrushes generously donated by Dental Partners of Southwest Georgia.
Most of the decorations were fabric we had on hand, crepe paper streamers, cardboard, paint, paper plates, cellophane, and balloons.
At the end of the game, the kids reached Candy Castle! The Lee County High School Drama Department graciously loaned us this amazing castle, which we decorated with “candy”. The peppermints are paper plates colored with red Sharpie. The hard candies are colored paper plates wrapped in cellophane. The gingerbread men were cut from cardboard and painted with puffy paint. The gumdrops are flowerpots that were painted and glittered. The Hershey kisses are aluminum foil stuffed with plastic grocery bags. My favorite is the gumball machine, which I made from cardboard, aluminum foil, and a clear garbage bag full of balloons. Each player also received a candy cane, donated by our Friends of the Library. A couple of the teen volunteers also did face painting, which the kids loved! They had a “menu” of candy-themed designs for the kids to choose from, including gingerbread man, candy cane, and ice cream.
All in all I’d say that our first Life Size Candyland was a huge success! Thanks again to Lee County Chamber of Commerce, Friends of Lee County Library, Dental Partners of Southwest Georgia, Lee County High School Drama Department, Lexi Anthony, Patsy Shirley, and the Lee County Youth Council for helping to make this event possible. And as always, THANK YOU to the families who make the library part of your holidays and “everydays”.