Candyland Theme -4yr- Life-Sized Game Board
Cynthia in Warrenton, VA, USA
Candyland Theme My daughter had her first "friend" birthday party when she turned 4 years old. At the time she had an obsession with the board game "Candyland". So, it was only natural to take that as the theme for her first kid party!
INVITATIONS: Using a scanner I scanned the game's name off the side of the box. It is a distinctive font made to look like it is made of peppermint candy shaped into letters. You could probably find a font online or even some alphabet stickers at craft/scrapbooking supply stores you could use instead. I used the scanned image to create an invitation on the computer, and then I printed it off on our color printer. It read: "It's a CANDYLAND Party! (Candyland being the scanned image). Join Queen Frostine, Princess Lolly, and all your favorite Candyland characters in celebrating (child's name)4th birthday!" And then of course I included the standard Date, time, address, and RSVP info. I printed 2 invitations on a sheet and then cut them with a paper cutter and pasted them onto slightly larger card stock in colors that coordinated with the game board, such as pink, purple, Caribbean blue, etc. To jazz them up a little more I found some candy stickers at the craft store and stuck a couple in some of the extra white space.
DECORATIONS: I used white and pastel pink and purple streamers and balloons that, again, coordinated with the game board. I got a large cabinet/refrigerator box laying horizontally, and cut door and window shapes into it. I then painted it to look like a gingerbread house (tip: save window cut outs and slice in half to make shutters around the window). I placed the house in one corner of the room. I picked up a couple of rolls of different colored cellophane wrap and some large circular shaped pieces of cardboard (I actually got these at a party store in the cake decorating section they use them to put cakes on). I covered the cardboard circles with the cellophane wrap to look like wrapped candy, tying them with curling ribbon. Some of them were wrapped like hard candy, and some I made to look like lollipops by using the empty cellophane rolls taped to the back with packaging tape for the stick. I taped these to my walls or hung them from the ceiling.
ARRIVAL/ACTIVITIES: When I bought the candy stickers for the invitations, I made sure I purchased extra. I also bought a variety of alphabet stickers and some inexpensive solid color gift bags to coordinate with the rest of the decorations(I bought the bags at Wal-Mart for 50 cents each, but you may have some luck at your local dollar store, too). As the kids arrived, they each picked a bag, put their name on it using the alphabet stickers, and then decorated it with the candy stickers. This bag was to be carried with them throughout the activities to carry their prizes in. We then moved on to making candy necklaces. I picked up some thin stretchy elastic at the fabric store and cut it into appropriate lengths. I took a bowl for each child and filled it with a variety of candy/cereal that had holes in the center for threading (cheerios, fruit loops, apple jacks, gummy savers, life savers, etc) and they made their very own candy necklaces. Most of them wore theirs right away and nibbled on it throughout the day. Before proceeding to the games, I sat the kids down and read the cardboard insert from the Candyland game box to them it tells the store of Candyland and introduces the different characters to them in case they weren't familiar with them. It was also a good way to entertain the early arrivals who had finished their activities while the stragglers finished up their necklaces.
GAMES: After reading the story, we proceeded with the games. The BIG game for the day was a LIFE-SIZED game of Candyland. I had taken pieces of construction paper in the same colors as the game board, and taped them to my floor. I had also scanned the Candyland game's cards for the special spaces such as Peppermint forest, Grandma Nut, Princess Lolly, and Queen Frostine, and printed them out and added them to the life-sized game board. I have an open floor plan on the main floor of my house, so I had the spaces meander through several rooms and end at the cardboard gingerbread house I had made. I used the game's card deck for the kids to draw from. (Note: It is helpful to have a few adults with you to help keep track of the kids with this game). Although one person did win, everyone got a prize.
I had found a reasonably priced scratch and sniff candyland book which we gave out for the prizes. The child who actually won the game also got one of those tubes of mini M&M's you find at the checkout stands. We also played a modified version of the game hot potato, except that this time they were all stuck in Molasses Swamp and they passed around a jar of molasses. To get out, they had to have the molasses in their hands when the music stopped. For an added touch, I used the song "The Candyman" for the music (remember that song: "Who can take a sunrise? Sprinkle it with dew, cover it with a chocolate and a miracle or two, the Candy Man, the Candy Man can.").
As each child got out, they got to pick a prize from a selection of candy, mini bubbles, and flavored lip gloss. We kept playing until each child had received a prize. Next I led them over to a large plastic bin which I had filled with unshelled peanuts and buried Hershey kisses in it. I told them that Lord Licorice had hidden all the chocolate in candyland somewhere at Grandma Nuts and they had to find it. They all enjoyed digging through the nuts to find the candy and adding it to their favor bag. Last, we visited "Lollipop forest" where the children each got to pick a lollipop off the "trees". For this I used my laundry room off the main floor (any room with a door will work) where I had hung long pieces of green streamers hanging from the ceiling. At the end of some of these streamers I had taped a lollipop.
CAKE: After the games we did the present thing and had cake and ice cream. Instead of making a cake, I simply made some cupcakes, frosted them with pink tinted frosting, and then decorated them using an assortment of gum drops and other candies. Don't forget some sugar sprinkles on the cupcakes to make them sparkle! To make dishing the ice cream easier, I bought the ice cream cups and just pulled the lid off them for each child. The kids enjoyed playing in the gingerbread house during departures, and each child got to pick a helium balloon to take home.
Everyone seemed to have fun. In fact, one of my friends who has thrown elaborate parties for her daughter since her birth is still upset with me because her daughter came up and told me that this "was the best party I've ever been to"! I have to say that it was great, and very gentle on the budget the most expensive thing was the books we gave out, and with the inexpensive nature of the other candy prizes and that the prizes made up the favor bag, it turned out to be more than reasonable!
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