Candyland Party 3yr - Adventure in Candyland
Rachel in Lehi, Utah, USA
September 2009 Winner
My daughter just turned 3, and we decided to do a Candy Land party since she is a candy-holic! Thanks to everyone for your ideas on this site!
INVITATIONS: I kept these simple and used gingerbread boy/girl invitations from OT's Candytown theme, and attached a gingerbread man lollipop, also OT. I bought a lot of things, tableware and goodie bag fillers, in that theme right after Christmas for cheap which were really cute, but it ended up being TOO many handouts once the party was all thought out. OT is dangerous that way, you can usually find too much cute stuff to fit a theme and go overboard! Next time I'll be more careful and solidify my plans before making purchases.
DECORATIONS: We used a ton of cardboard (a furniture store nearby told me we could scour their cardboard dumpster for whatever we wanted), paper mache and carpet rolls (left over from the jungle we set up for my other daughter's Chunky Monkey party) for the decorations. For the path we bought a bunch of felt squares, which are pretty cheap at Walmart, but I had to go to Michaels to find purple. I bought 15 squares in each of the six colors, so about 3 bucks per color, which was plenty. I also bought some pink for the site squares and brown for chocolate puddles in the chocolate swamp. I used clip art from the internet, printed on transfer paper and ironed onto the pink felt, to make the pink squares match each site. It worked great. We made arrow signs for each site by painting cardboard and sticking them on paint stirring sticks.
I made a big Welcome to Candy Land banner to hang between two columns on our porch, then we wrapped the columns in red and white table clothes to look like peppermint sticks. We set up the Gingerbread Tree in our front yard, which we made by bundling 20 or so 4 ft. long carpet roll pieces together and surrounding them with crumpled brown butcher paper. We made leaves from green poster board to prop on top. I'd planned to stick on Mama Gingertree's face, but ran out of time. That happened with several things at this party, because there's just SO much to set up! At the foot of the tree I laid out a shimmery lavender blanket for guests to sit on, and we sewed some round candy-shaped pillows from colorful satiny fabric remnants to strew about.
We made gingerbread men standees from cardboard, decorated with puffy paints, taped to wooden dowels that we stuck in the ground. These were placed all over Candy Land, and were usually doing something like they are on the gameboard, like licking a candy or throwing a snowball. We wrapped some tennis balls and mini inflatable swirled beach balls (OT) in colorful cellophane with ribbon to look like candies and strew them around on the ground.
Peppermint Forest: We covered our entire living room floor with cotton quilt batting for snow, and covered our furniture with white tablecloths and sheets. We made giant peppermint sticks by painting tall carpet rolls (first painted them all white, then used painter's tape to get an even red stripe) and propped them up along the walls. I used white-painted cardboard to make long rolling snow-drifts that I attached big candy cane decorations to (OT) and placed in front of the sofa and opposite wall. I had peppermint colored paper lanterns (OT) hanging or on the ground and real peppermint candies littering the batting. In the middle of the room was a large piece of Styrofoam underneath the batting that we stuck a ton of candy sticks into of all flavors, plus several regular candy canes.
Gumdrop Mountains: Here the path led down a stairway into our basement. I made a backdrop of large gumdrops by painting cardboard and sprinkling it with crystal-glitter for sugar. This was used to block off our kitchen and just the kids over to the stairs. On the stairwell walls were more gumdrops made from posterboard and construction paper, painted with modge podge glue and sprinkled with glitter, and on the ground on the landings were several more gumdrops made by paper mache-ing the bottom halves of balloons, painting them and glittering them up. One tip on that- do a couple layers of the newspaper, reinforcing the bottom edge with extra strips, paint and glitter, all BEFORE popping the balloon underneath or the bottom edges warp inward! Took a few tries to get it right, but the final batches looked great.
Licorice Woods: The path ran through the basement and out the back door. Along the way it was lined with big licorice trees, made by setting three tall carpet rolls in a sort of tripod and wrapping packing tape around the upper area so they'd stand up, then wrapping them with crumpled black butcher paper. We left plenty of extra paper at the top and bottom and kind of wrung it in strips to look like licorice roots and branches. Some of the roots sprawled across the path, and we used more paper to wring into licorice ropes to wrap around the trees and along/across the path. These carpet rolls still had paper palm leaves at the top from their palm tree days, so we just left them since it'd be darkish down there anyway, then we didn't have to worry about making foliage. I have a green light bulb I'd planned to use in this room since on the game board there's an eerie greenish light in the background of Licorice Woods, but there was already too much light coming in from the back door, so I bagged that.
Peanut Acres: In on section of the backyard, we'd set up my daughter's little cottage as Gramma Nut's house and littered our bushes and grass with real peanuts. I'd made some giant peanuts by paper mache-ing two balloons separately, then paper mache-ing them together by setting them in bowls on their sides, point to point, and stretching newspaper strips across the gap between them. When they dried I painted them light brown. We set these by the Peanut Acres sign and by the cottage. I think these giant peanuts were my favorite of all our creations.
Lollipop Woods: Made giant lollipops by gluing two colored Dollar Tree plates together, propping them on empty cellophane rolls, and wrapping them in cellophane and ribbon. The game's lollipops aren't wrapped, though, so it may have been better to just leave them plain but the plates just didn't look right on their own and it was too late to change plans. Snowflake Lake: I draped a blue sheet over our little sandbox and called it our lake. As a background I cut a long wide strip of cardboard to look like the ice cream mountains in the background on the game board and painted it white.
Chocolate Swamp: I bought two brown plastic tablecloths, one rectangular and one round, to lay on the grass on either side of the path. The round one was supposed to be Gloppy, but I didn't have time to make him so we just laid it there. We tossed a bunch of Hershey's kissies all over them. I'd also painted several boxes in glossy brown paint to look like big chocolate chunks, and set them around.
Candy Castle: The path comes full circle back to the front of the house. This website http://www.mrmcgroovys.com/t-plans-cardboard-castle.aspx has plans for an awesome cardboard castle that I was dying to make, but I couldn't get a hold of enough refrigerator boxes. So instead we converted our garage into Candy Castle and used what boxes we got to create an entrance façade, complete with drawbridge. Inside we lined the floor with plastic tablecloths, hung some peppermint candy lanterns, and lined the walls with some royal blue and gold fabric we had from a previous project that never came about.
ACTIVITIES: Next to the Gingerbread tree was a covered coffee table (kids height) where the kids would find a bucket when they arrived. I'd saved up several baby formula cans, stripped off the wrapper and painted them the different path colors, sprayed them with spray glitter and attached a wide ribbon as a handle. The kids could choose a bucket and decorate it with stickers, including a label I'd made for each kid with their name in the Candy Land font, printed on address labels and sprayed with glitter. They could also try their hand at a miniature claw-grab game I'd borrowed from my brother while they waited for everyone to arrive. I'd painted a photo op board where they could stick their faces into the holes and look like gingerbread men for photos.
The best part of this party was the characters and the storyline. King Kandy (my dad) and I (Princess Frostine) greeted the kids as they arrived, and mingled with the guests while waiting for everyone. My husband dressed somewhat as a royal jester to act as the King's assistant, helping my dad with his role. Then, to start things off, King Kandy gathered everyone around to welcome them and teach them a chant that they had to repeat- I love candy! Candy is our friend! I want candy! He was holding a gumball scepter (a glittery baton thing I found at Michaels), and suddenly Lord Licorice (brother-in-law) snuck up behind him and snatched the gumball scepter! I led everyone in gasps of alarm, hisses and boos, etc. Lord Licorice announced that he was going to be the new ruler of Candy Land and demanded all the candy in Candy Land. Then he ran into the castle and pulled up the drawbridge to lock himself inside.
Originally, we wanted to have him wave his arms and cause licorice to grow over the entrance (the garage door would come down covered with big black paper/fabric licorice vines). That would've been so much cooler, but we didn't have time to make it happen and had to simplify. At that point I loudly lamented that we'd prepared a fantastic candy feast for everyone, but now we couldn't get to it. So, King and Jester and I had a little dialogue in front of everyone about what to do, and it was decided that we should just divide into two groups and go collect all the candy Lord Licorice demanded, starting at the Gingerbread tree. But then Jester revealed that Lord Licorice is allergic to gingerbread, so I decided we should use that to our advantage. Beneath the tree was a basket of bean bag gingerbread men (we'd sewn them, filled them with popcorn kernels, and decorated with puffy paints) that I handed out to each kid and told them we could use the candy to lure Lord Licorice out of the castle then attack him with these.
Then I led one group along the path and King & Jester led the other group backwards along the path with their buckets. Whenever they encountered a character, they had to help us rehearse what a dilemma we were in and ask for help. My brother was Mr. Mint in Peppermint Forest, and asked the kids to help him weed his candy cane patch and they could keep the colored candy sticks that didn't belong there. Along Gumdrop Pass they had to search for small boxes of Dots candy among the big gumdrops. In Licorice Woods they had to avoid stepping on any of the licorice vines so they didn't grab their ankles and keep them stuck there. In Peanut Acres, Gramma Nut (my mom) had them gather peanuts from the ground which she placed on a small baking tray. She'd slip it into a play stove, have the kids count to ten, then pull out a different baking sheet with Nutter Butter cookies on it and hand them out, telling them how much Lord Licorice loved her special peanut cookies.
In Lollipop Woods some of the lollipops were actually pinatas on wooden dowels, so the kids had to take turns hitting one of the pinatas until it broke open. Only two had mini swirl pops (OT) in them, one for each group, which the kids could collect for their buckets. If they broke open an empty one, they had to try again. My sis-in-law was Lolly, making sure that they eventually found their group's correct pinata. For Snowflake Lake I'd planned to have an ice cream sundae bar, but it didn't happen so we just kind of skimmed past that site, telling my group that it was my home where I liked to ice skate and such. At the Chocolate Swamp the pathway squares were covered in chocolate (brown felt cut curvy to look like puddles) so they had to jump over them to avoid getting stuck. Then they could gather kissies for their buckets. Once both groups were back in front of the castle, we announced to Lord Licorice that we'd gathered all the candy. He lowered the drawbridge and came out to see, and as instructed, the kids started pelting him with the beanbags! It was a classic moment, best part of the party! He ended up vanquished on the ground and was forced to kneel before King Kandy and apologize, then apologize to all the kids.
Then we allowed everyone inside the castle where we'd set up tables with an amazing candy buffet (got the idea from hostesswiththemostess.com, Candy Land theme and Sesame Street theme). I'd bought several glass vases and bowls from Deseret Industries, wrapped some with ribbon, and filled them with candy. There were also plates of cookies and mini-cupcakes on a 3-tier display stand. I'd even found tiny gingerbread men cake decorations at Zurchers party store to go on the mini cupcakes. We made it all look pretty and let the parents help the kids choose more stuff for their buckets, and we provided cellophane bags for the parents to take some home too.
I had kid-size strawberry milks for the kids and a punch bowl of cran-orange juice mix for everyone. My daughter got her own special mini cake, decorated with a starburst path and mini gingerbread men, so she could blow out candles. Then she opened presents out on the lavender blanket in the yard while everyone snacked. The biggest problem we had was that our decorations attracted EVERY kid on our street! We had a bunch of party crashers! We had all of our neighbor kids show up uninvited and just kind of join in. Especially at the end with the candy buffet, some kids were taking home bags of candy then coming back for more, inviting all their friends along the way! But it was fine because we had TONS of sweets to share that I didn't want to be left with. At the end we also handed out goodie bags of all the little trinkets I'd found on OT after Christmas- snowflake notepads and stickers, candy cane pencils, gingerbread bubble tubs, flavored lip glosses that perfectly matched the theme, etc. We'd tied it all into cellophane bundles and hung them from our front yard tree, so each kid got to pick one for me to cut down for them.
COSTUMES: King Kandy- a Halloween crown and robe, a belt of colorful rubber bouncy balls strung together, a necklace of Dots gumdrops, ring pops on his fingers, and his gumball scepter. Princess Frostine- I wore my wedding dress, which was a medieval princessy type design, overlaid with some sheer fabric with a glittery snowflake design, long blonde Halloween wig, shimmery makeup, and a snowflake ring found in my daughter's toy box. Mr. Mint- Red and white striped shirt and stockings, red overalls, red hat, and tall platform shoes painted red, all found at Deseret Industries. Gramma Nut- a colorful but plain dress, peanuts strung for jewelry, gardening hat and gloves, green shoes, from Deseret Industries. Lolly- Simple purple dress, ponytail, carried around a lollipop wand. We all had a great time acting these parts, and it made the theme come alive for the kids. Lots of fun!
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