Life-Sized Candy Land

Families taking part in West Babylon Public Library's reading club were invited to play a life-sized game of Candy Land. Participants made their way around a life-sized board through all the candy worlds until they reached King Candy. Along the way, families could collect goodies (edible and non-edible) as they worked together.

Advanced Planning

The children's librarians started planning for this program about six months in advance. Since this was the first time we were attempting the Life-Sized Candy Land program, we wanted to give ourselves as much preparation time as possible. We started by determining what we would use to make the Candy Land board. A local community member agreed to make some of the characters as "life-size" wooden figures for us, if the library paid for the wood and other supplies. We then determined that we would use colored felt to create the board spaces and have different treats (edible and non-edible) at the various Candy Land locations.

It was a bit confusing to determine what these locations would be since there are so many different versions of Candy Land, which I never realized before. We decided to go with what we felt were the most well-known place names: Ice Palace (home to Queen Frostime), Cupcake Commons, Licorice Lagoon (home to Lord Licorice), Lollipop Woods (home to Princess Lolly), Peppermint Forest (home to Mr. Mint), Gummy Hills, Peanut Acres (home to Gramma Nutt), Gingerbread House (home to the Gingerbread Man), Chocolate Swamp (home to Gloppy), Ice Cream Slopes (home to the Duke of Swirl) and Candy Castle (home to King Kandy).

After the board layout was determined, we thought about what else we wanted at the event and decided upon crafts, face painting, balloon twisiting and a character visit. This would all be set up in the room outside of where the board was laid out to keep some of the children happily occupied, while others went through the game.  


We started marketing the event in our December newsletter and continued to do so for January and February. We also set up the children's room with the wooden characters, inflatable cupcakes and displayed some prizes. Many patrons inquired about the characters; it was a great incentive to get patrons to register for our Winter Reading Club: Reading is Sweet, since only participants in the club could attend the Life-Sized Candy Land program. One of our librarians also marketed the Winter Reading Club and Life-Sized Candy Land Finale at various school events. Additionally, we used the library's website and Facebook page to advertise.  


Most of the budget was spent on supplies and decorations to create the Candy Land board. We wanted each location to be unique and representive of the game. Since a community member made the characters, we only had to pay for the paint and wood he needed. For the face painter, balloon twister and character visit, Island Wide Entertainment (a new local business) offered to donate their services with the hope that the library would book them for future events. We also spent money on the crafts activities and on the treats they got at each location on the board. Overall, we spent approximately $500. 

Day-of-event Activity

We arrived 90 minutes before the program to begin the extensive set-up. We had to lay out the board using the felt squares and tape each one down with a piece of book tape on the back. We then had to move the characters to the proper locations on the board, put out signage, add balloons and other decorations, and set up the craft tables. The night prior to the event, the maintenance crew hung decorations from the ceiling for us.

Program Execution

The program went extremely well. Families started in the room with the crafts and other activities and then progressed incrementally into the room with the board game. We held two sessions back to back. We had 50 patrons at the first session and 38 at the second. The feedback we received was all positive and appreciative comments were overheard from patrons exiting the program. We definitely achieved our goals. 


Arrows, arrows and more arrows. Some of the kids got confused about which way to go during the game. Otherwise, the best advice we could give is to plan ahead, use local resources and keep the Candy Land board handy.

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