Most of parents have played Candy Land Board Game as kids. Candy Land is recommended as one of the first board games to introduce to toddlers and preschoolers. This board game is easy for them to play since it does not include reading and it is really great for early learning. It helps kids to develop skills like colour recognition and social skills (interaction, patience, taking turns, dealing with losing).
This post is not here to talk about the history of the game or all the variations available on the market (if you’re interested in that, you’ll find some links further down the page). Instead, here we talk about some alternative ideas and games you can use with your toddlers and preschoolers to repurpose Candy Land board game for more ways to learn and prolong fun after a classic way of play finishes!
Basics of the Candy Land board game
How it was intended to be played, according to it’s creators!
Inside Candy Land game box, you will receive:
- 4 gingerbread men figurines in different colours,
- deck of cards,
- instructions and
- cardboard insert with a story of the Candy Land.
The game by itself is really simple: First to reach the Candy Land Castle on the top of the board is the winner. Easy for little kids toddler age because they have to count only numbers 1 and 2 (that’s how many “stepping stones” you have on cards).
Now, some of the benefits little ones have played this board game:
1. It teaches them basic colours – cards are in 6 different colours – red, blue, yellow, orange, purple and green.
2. It teaches them basic math (counting 1 and 2).
3. It’s great as an introduction to board games as a single game does not take longer than 15 – 20 minutes at most. And we know little ones are not really the most patient people on Earth!
4. Excellent way to practice taking turns. This helps with social skills our toddlers have to develop over time.
Alternative ways to play Candy Land board game
Play Variation #1: Match the cards to the board
This is excellent exercise for toddlers and it will not take them long to finish. Simply take from the deck all the pink cards with candy images and let them match candy images from the cards to the same images on the board. Stay beside them as they do this, when they find the match, ask them if they can name the candy. If not, you tell them the name.
As simple as this little game is, it will help them recognize items on the board, and learn to name them. It will expand their vocabulary as well as help them notice small details on the board.
Play Variation #2: Play I spy game
Use the Candy Land board game to play the I spy game with your toddlers. Give them a gingerbread man figurine to mark the answer to your I spy challenge. And, yes, let them pick the colour. So, you start with “I spy with my little eye… cupcake with a cherry on top!” and let your child mark it with a figurine. Well, you can play this until you (or your kid) gets bored with it! Like that will happen! 😉
In my opinion, this board game is perfect for these activities because it is colorful and has loads of details.
Play Variation #3: Sorting by colour or number
Now, with cards from the deck… as I mentioned earlier, you have stones in 6 colours inside a deck. Each of the colors comes in 2 variations – with one and with 2 stepping stones.
This gives you a couple of different variations for sorting games:
1. Sort by color
2. Sort by number of stepping stones
3. Sort by both color and number of stepping stones
Play Variation #4: Memory game
With the game comes a deck of cards in 6 basic colors. Separate 2 of each colors of the cards to use as pairs for memory game.
For smaller toddlers, use only 6 pairs (only cards with 1 stone) and play with them facing up. It will be easier for the to find matching pairs in this way.
For older toddlers, use all 12 pairs facing down and take turns in finding pairs.
Play Variation #5: Letter game
At Pieces by Polly, you can find full tutorial how to turn Candy Land board game in letter recognition game. And, with time, it can also be adopted for preschoolers and learning sight words and family words. Instructions can be found at First Grade Teacher.
Play Variation #6: Skip counting
Another way to adopt this game for preschoolers, once it becomes too easy for them, is to teach them skip counting by 2, 3, 4 or 5. In this way, for example, instead of one stepping stone, they would need to pick 2, and instead 2, they would need to count 4.
Play Variation #7: Candy land extreme
At What’s up at the white house you can find full instructions how to turn this board game into extreme fun full with movements and funny actions.