Saturday, December 9, 2017

Life-Size Candyland

The ice cream sea
  • Program Goals 
    • Holiday-neutral program 
    • Bring library users in during December 
    • Fun! 
    • Attendance: 50 
I was tired of our annual Santa's Kitchen program and attendance had been dying off so I decided it was time for something new and exciting. This was a big collaboration. It took the combined efforts of myself, my two teen aides, my two part-time associates, multiple adult volunteers, two tween volunteers, and teen volunteers on the day of the program. I started planning it back in August (and yes, this was really short notice - most planning processes for a program of this scale start at least a year in advance!). I cancelled several large programs we usually do in the fall and a lot of outreach because I was working on this and some other projects.

In addition to the hours of work we put in during the fall, I and an associate stayed several hours after the library closed on Friday for set-up. I and three of my staff came in extra early on Saturday and stayed after the program was finished as well.

I looked at many, many resources online. Pinterest boards for ideas, other libraries who had done the program, and asked staff for ideas as well. These are some of the best resources I found:
I decided to go with six stations for the game and use construction paper for the game board. An artsy volunteer was able to make cardboard cut-outs for the stations. I worked it out to approximately 150 squares or steps. Each station had candy and most had a teen volunteer to help out and oversee. I spent around $150 on candy and also had a lot donated. I also got a local dentist to donate toothbrushes! I used up almost all the paint we had stockpiled and got more donated as well to get everything painted. Other supplies probably came in at about $100. My colleague from the school supplied most of the cardboard.
  • Start in Storyroom - get your spinner, treat bag, and game piece necklace
  • Candy cane forest
    • Candy canes and candy sticks (made with pool noodles and ribbon)
    • Mr. Mint cardboard cut-out
  • Ice cream sea
    • Candy was thrown into the "sea" (plastic kiddie pool with ball pit balls - which we washed!). I hung tulle over the shelves and tables and put out ice cream cone decorations (made from yarn cones, styrofoam balls, and tissue paper)
    • Queen Frostine cardboard cut-out
  • Gingerbread house
    • We had a lot of cardboard (donated by my school colleague from smart boards etc.) and my staff constructed a giant cardboard house and decorated it with styrofoam, colored paper plates, etc. We had a lot of trouble getting it to stay intact - the roof kept sagging and our library is very dry in the winter, so the tape kept coming loose.
    • Gingerbread people cut-outs
  • Lollipop land
    • This was the most time-intensive! My adult volunteers and staff cut out a LOT of giant cardboard circles and sketched in swirls on them. Then my tween volunteers painted them. We stuck them on paper tubes or sticks, inserted them in boxes (weighed down with old books, legos, and crayons) and used hot glue liberally. Then we covered the bases with fabric and felt (just draped it on when we put them out). We had to do this several times as they dried out and fell apart!
    • Princess Lollipop cardboard cut-out
  • Gumdrop mountain
    • This was the stairs to our upper level. My volunteers cut out cardboard gumdrop shapes and we covered them with paint and glitter and leaned them against the wall on the sides.
    • Mr. Jolly cardboard cut-out
  • Candy Kingdom
    • This was in our audiobook room upstairs. It's a contained room. We had really giant cardboard circles (we used a tabletop as a pattern to cut them out) and we painted and glittered those. I hung a whole bunch of crepe streamers at the entryway in different colors to walk through. The giant circles were huge candies placed around the room.
    • This room had crowns for the kids to take and decorate as it was the final "winning" station as well as candy.
    • King Candy cardboard cut-out
As people came into the library they signed up their family and/or friends as a "team" with a staff member. Then they went into our community room (on the right) to do activities and play games while they waited for their turn. When it was their turn, I took them back to our storyroom, gave them a spinner, a brown paper "treat" bag, and the game rules and they started off. When they finished they could go back in the activity room and decorate their bag and/or crown. I only planned to let people play once this time around. My associate was in charge of collecting teen volunteers to cover each station.

Community room activities
This was the other half of the game. I had a lot of crafts and games for people to do while they waited their turn to go around the gameboard.
  • Candyland board game
  • Candy-colored toss game (no, this was NOT beer pong!)
    • We glued sheets of colored paper to poster board and then glued on red plastic cups and added some small clay pots. The balls were pompoms.
  • Make your own lollipop
    • Die-cut cardboard circles
    • Popsicle sticks
    • Tape, markers
  • Make your own magic wands
    • Die-cut cardboard stars
    • Ribbon
    • Popsicle sticks
    • Tape, markers
  • Make your own gingerbread house
    • Popsicle sticks
    • Scratch paper, scissors
    • Glue sticks
    • Tape, permanent markers
  • Rainbow drop painting
    • diffuser paper shapes (basically pre-cut coffee filters)
    • scratch paper
    • water color in ice cube trays (about 1/4 inch of water, a couple drops of paint)
  • Additional craft supplies for random crafting and decorating crowns and bags
    • markers, tape, glue
    • pipe cleaners
    • jewels and sequins
    • glitter glue
    • mini cupcake papers
    • tissue paper
  • Cover tables with plastic sheeting, bring over sink (and towels), have paper towels available
You can find our flyers, handouts, etc. here

Photos from 2017, including the game layout


  • 12-9-17
    • Attendance: 280-300
    • Notes: It was crazy busy and went very well. I might have a few more spinners next year - I only had about 8 and there were a couple times I could have given out more without getting too crowded. I'd also advertise ahead of time how many teams and have a cut-off time.
    • Set-up took about 3-4 hours with myself and a second staff person the night before. Then I, an associate, and my two aides started at 9am Saturday with an unexpected teen volunteer. 7 more teen volunteers came around 10am. The party was mostly over by 12:30 and the last teams finished by 1pm. It took about an hour just to shove everything back in the Storyroom, post pictures, and vacuum. We still had to dismantle and put everything away on Monday.
    • From feedback from staff and patrons I need to feed more people through - I think I will spread the stations out more so more can participate. It's tricky to do without doubling back, but I have time to think about it.

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