We received a Candy Land Castle from a friend as a gift for last Christmas. It turned out to be a great toy choice for my 2-year-old toddler! We are playing with little Gingerbread Kids and baking cookies since!
This toy has succeeded to keep her attention but what is great about this game is that since we received it, we have found few new ways to play with it! Not only as a first board game but also as a learning tool in teaching my toddler some concepts like colors, shapes and some simple math!
Here we’ll share some of the ways we played with Candy Land Castle Game, and we would love to hear your ideas and experiences we could try as well!
Why we think this is The Best First Board Game for Toddlers?
One thing was evident when we took a first look at this toy – it is really cute! A Christmas theme for a toy we can use the whole year! You have 4 gingerbread kid boards, with designs in different colors, and each of them can hold up to 4 pieces (cookies) of different colors and shapes. Besides these pieces there is a little cookie factory and it is really simple to use – all we have to do is put the cookies in the hole at the top of the castle and use the handle (colored like a candy cane) to retrieve them after they slide through to the bottom! It’s as simple as that! My toddler knew what to do after I had shown her only once! After that, she was all over this game!
Candy Land Castle can be played by toddler alone (this will probably become boring pretty fast!) or can be turned into a fun board game for the whole family – each of the family members (max.4 players) takes one of the Gingerbread kid boards and takes a turn baking cookies. If you draw a cookie you have on your board, you place it on the right spot. If not, you put it back in the hole on the top. The person who completes all 4 shapes first is the winner.
This is good variation of a board game because it doesn’t last too long (my 2 year old toddler doesn’t really have too much patience!) but this game still teaches waiting on a turn (patience and social skills – interaction, taking turns).
how we play with Candy Land Caste game
While playing Candy Land Castle we repeated colors and shapes as they slide out of the castle. After a little while, my toddler knew all the colors and all the shapes. This is when I decided to create a variation turning it into a matching game.
I spread 2 pieces of each shape on the table and asked her to find pairs: “Do you see squares? Where are they? How many squares do we have? What color are the squares?”. This continues until she matches all the shapes.
With younger toddlers you can start with 3 pairs and increase it until you have all 6 of them on the table. A more advanced option is to put all the cookies (tokens) on the table – toddler will have total of 18 shapes, 3 of each to match.
One of the ways we played with this toy – I traced each of the different shapes on a piece of plain paper, then placed the shapes on top of the paper and asked my toddler to color them in the right colors. As you can see, she colored all over but that will improve with time!
What I asked my toddler to do after coloring is to place the shapes on the right spots (the ones she colored previously).
Work ended up like shown on the picture on the right. As you can see, we created 2 projects here, first with one of each shape, and the second with 2 pieces of the same shape.
Math – same and different
As I mentioned, we used this game for simple math. On this, and the next picture, two examples of this simple math lessons for a toddler are shown. First she needed to pick pieces which are the SAME.
After she has done this, I emphasized to her that the shape which remains on the table is DIFFERENT from the others. Most toddlers understand the concept of matching things, but they have a bit of trouble understanding the different part! After I have repeated it few more time through an example she began to understand the concepts of both, SAME and DIFFERENT.
math – patterning
Another thing we did, and we just started working on this, is to put shapes into a sequence – one star, one octagon, one star, one octagon, and one star, WHAT’S NEXT? Ask them to pick from the other shapes you have set out.
This isn’t something my toddler understands at this stage of development, but we’re working on this new math skill! 🙂 The wonderful thing about this is that we can change the shapes into many variations and keep this game interesting! 🙂
Do you already have Candy Land Castle and played with it?
If you do, share with us your own assessment of this toy!
Does your toddler use it? What does he / she love the most about this toy?
Are there some other ways you use it for play (other than mentioned on this page)?
We would love to hear your ideas and comments about this toy!
Mihaela runs Best Toys 4 Toddlers blog and loves to come up with new ideas how to use old toys her 2 daughters keep leaving on the floor to slip over. She loves them despite the fact that they call her mommy few hundred times a day, and it makes her nuts.