Candyland Party -4yr- King Kandy Dad
Melissa in Schenectady, NY
For my daughter's 4th Birthday she insisted on a theme based on her favorite board game, Candyland. This party was a TON of fun to create, but took many months of preparation.
INVITATION: I created a single-sided cardstock invite, the size of a standard legal envelope. I copied an image on-line from Hasbro's website, which had a pastel colored Candyland scene with frosting capped mountains and lollipop flowers, etc. This was the background image for the entire invite. I added the text: Wouldn't it be grand, If you came with us to CANDYLAND with Candyland in a candy-cane font. Going down one side of the invite was the date, time info. On the right side of the invite I cut 2 small slits and inserted a rainbow swirl (round face, thin profile) Lollipop, positioned so it appeared to be growing out of the ground just like the ones on the background pic. Most of these invites I hand delivered. I mailed only a few (in padded envelopes).
DECORATIONS: Mostly the decorating were the gameboard I'll explain later. I had several tables, each covered with a red, yellow, green or blue tablecloth and bouquets of balloons in those colors at the center of each. ACTIVITIES: Due to our large family and network of friends we had over 20 kids at the party. When the children arrived they were led to a table I had set up for them to decorate goody bags. The bags were simple lunch-sack sized, but were different colors and had a glossy finish. Ahead of time I had decided how to best group the kids together for our big activity, and assigned them to a color team. There were 3 or 4 kids on each team, so I had 3 RED bags with certain children's names written on them, 3 yellow bag, etc. etc. As we greeted each child we handed them their bag and told them to decorate it as they wanted. The table was set up with all sorts of decorations. I printed out tons of Candyland coloring pages featuring the different game characters and scaled/trimmed them to fit on the bags. There were glue sticks to attach them, crayons, candy themed stickers and candy-themed foam pieces. This activity allowed everyone to be entertained as all the guests arrived.
GAMES: We they finished decorating their bags I grouped them by team and lined them up ready to play the big game: a LIFE-SIZED version of Candyland! This took a LOT of time in preparation but was SOOO worth the effort. I used a 30x40 area of my backyard and decorated it to look just like the gameboard. Gameboard: I bought several large tarps (outdoor camping type) and spread them out and painted with rollers each tarp to be one of the colors of the gameboard squares (so I had 1 orange tarp, 1 yellow tarp, etc.) Once they were all dry I cut the tarps into 2x2 squares. I also painted several pink squares and hand-painted them with the different Candyland icons (a lollipop, a candy cane, etc.) These looked VERY cute!
The game squares were assembled in my yard in the same fashion as the gameboard and were staked into the ground with long nails. The next component was to decorate each area.
Mama Ginger Tree: I took 2 large sheets of cardboard and cut them out to form the trunk of the tree. I added pieces between both sides to give the trunk stability and make it an inch thick. This allowed me to slide the trunk over a long metal rod inserted into the ground so it stood up and wouldn't fall over. For the top of the tree, I cut 2 sheets of foam core board into the bushy-tree-top shape, added pieced between to make it 3 thick and painted it green. I drilled about 15 holes in each side of the tree top and inserted red dum-dum lollipops, so the kids could pick a cherry off Mama Ginger when they passed her. I also made 3 Gingerbread children (foamcore cut in the shape of gingerbread boys and girls, painted brown to look like gingerbread. For all 3 kids and the tree I added the faces and frosting trim with foam sheets in the appropriate color. I used skewers to insert them into the ground. The tree stood about 5 tall, the kids were about 2 tall each.
Peppermint Forest: After Christmas I had bought dozens of candy-cane lawn ornament of different sizes and scattered them around this area. I sprinkled the ground with snow (for Christmas villages), also bough after Christmas. My brother was at this area playing Mr. Mint and handed each child a baggie of Starburst mints with a Mr. Mint sticker on the bag. He wore a tall red & white striped hat (Oriental Trading) and had a candy cane walking stick (a tall-skinny lawn decoration).
Gum Drop Pass: I used straight/sloped sided colored bowls I had bought to make gumdrops. I coated the outside of each bowl with a clear paint and sprinkled real sugar over them. When inverted, they looked like real, oversized gumdrops! I also used small plastic containers with lids, spray-painted them with glitter and filled them, as well as some jelly-bean shaped Easter Eggs, with Dots candy. Both size gumdrops were placed on the lawn in this area along with glitter. Each child was able to select a mini gumdrop or jelly bean for their treat.
Peanut Acres: I made a few large peanuts out of cardboard and paint and staked them into the ground. I sprinkled green crinkly paper (gift bag fill) and tons of peanuts all over the ground. My mother wore a bright orange apron and straw hat to be Gramma Nutt, and held a basket of baggies filled with circus peanuts and a Gramma Nutt sticker.
Lollipop Forest: I found bright colored bubble wands at the $ store that came with a large colored round dipping tray. I wrapped the top of each in clear cellophane and tied them with curly ribbon. So they looked like oversized lollipops. I also made some larger lollipops. I saved several cardboard discs form frozen pizzas. I put 2 together with a 1 edge all around and painted them with rainbow swirls, and slid them over white cardboard tubes (left over form the clear cellophane!). These were also wrapped in the cellophane and ribbon. They all got staked into the ground, along with more scattered crinkly paper. The kids LOVED this land. My niece dressed up as Lolly, with colorful clothes and a tiara (with gumballs hot glued to it) and handed out rainbow swirl lollipops (The same one as on the invite, that matched the huge ones I made).
Snowflake Lake: I used a silver tarp and cut it into a free-form lake shape, staked it into the ground and sprinkled snow all around it. I positioned this area under a few trees and hung glittery snowflakes by fishing line, off the trees. My other niece dressed as Princess Frostine with a tutu and tiara and a magic wand with a snowflake glued to the end. She handed out bottles of bubbles that were in containers shaped like ice cream cones.
Chocolate Swamp: A brown tarp, cut into a freeform swamp shape and brown crinkles all round. I also made a few oversized chocolate fudgcicles out of cardboard and painted them brown. I hotglued peanuts on the tops to make them look more life-like. I put them on a square wood dowel and stuck them in the ground around the swamp. I sprinkled mini tootsie rolls all over the swamp and each child chose one as they passed.
Candy Castle: I made a Castle front out of a huge 4x8 piece of cardboard. It had flared sides and went to a point at the top. This took a LOT of work but looked really great. I bought tons of strands of plastic candy garland after Christmas and glued it along all the edges so it looked like a candy castle. I cut out several round circles and gumdrop shapes of cardboard and painted each in colored swirls, sprinkled with clear paint and sugar and added them as well, including a Starburst mint at the top. I cut a round-top door into the middle and hung glittery doorway strands from the back. As each child approached the end of the game they were greeted by King Kandy (my husband, with a king's crown (Oriental Trading) and a gumball staff (an old broomstick with a round Styrofoam ball at the top with hot-glued gumballs all around it. He handed each child a baggie of mixed candy and told them to pass through Candy Castle and claim their prize (A wagon behind the castle, filled with Candyland themed coloring books, magnets, etc. bought form the $ store.
Before we began the game I stated the rules (share the spaces, no pushing, EVERYONE gets a prize and EVERYONE wins). To play the game, we flipped cards (8x10 white cardstock with colored paper squares glued on them, matching the game board colors) and directed the children where to go next. With more than 20 kids, we had a few adults to flip the cards for a smaller group of kids (more than one group was moving at a time). By the end of the game the kids had a blast and their goody bags were STUFFED with candy and trinkets. After we played the game the kids were able to play on their own in the backyard for a bit. I had a table with candy-themed foam beads (Oriental Trading) and alphabet beads so the kids could make key chains or necklaces.
CAKE: I ordered a full sheet cake form the bakery and had them airbrush green grass over the entire cake and trim it with bright pink and yellow icing on the edges and write Happy Birthday Taylor in one corner. I re-created the gameboard on the cake as best I could using starburst candies as the squares, coconut for snow, mini candy canes, Dots gumdrops, etc. I added a few of the plastic boy and girl playing pieces from my daughter's actual gameboard. For those that don't like cake, I also made gingerbread shaped cut-out cookies and frosted them green, blue, red or yellow, to also look like the game pieces.
This party was a LOT of work and time, but really wasn't all that more expensive than a party at a kids-party-place would have been for 20+ kids. Most of it was done with cardboard and paint. My best tips would be: 1.Plan early and shop after Christmas for large candy canes, snowflakes, snow, candy decorations, etc. on clearance. 2.For large groups, have one adult flipping cards for each group of 4 or 6 kids, so things go smooth and no one is waiting
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