Monday, January 23, 2023

In short, I am busy: Life-Size Candyland

Getting started -
Grandma Nutt has aged very well lol
After a break of several years, we returned to this program in 2023, moving it to January instead of December and offering it over the course of two days. The really big change was instead of having me race back and forth, calling team names and monitoring how many people went through, I decided to just let people go as they came, handing out what spinners we had at the door. I also moved the crafts to the Storyroom and started the game in the teen area, instead of the play area, to give people more space to hang out. I kept the Community Room as a backup for crafts if we got too crowded.

These are the instructions and schedules I wrote up for our staff

Pictures from 2023's event!


Below are the notes from offering this program in 2017, 2018, and 2019. We took a break partly because of the pandemic and partly because the program had gotten a bit stale; folks were picking other holiday events to attend and it was a lot to pile on my staff right before Christmas, in our Christmas-fanatic town.

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:
Staff minimum: 1 greeter, 2 in charge of crafts, 1 runner, 1 caller for teams.

As people enter the library they sign up as teams with the greeter, who also counts them and hands out the game instructions. They go into our community room for crafts and games and to wait their turn to play.
Caller (usually me) calls teams pretty much non-stop for 2 hours, take them through our workroom to the Storyroom, and start them off with a spinner and a treat bag (if they forgot theirs).
When they finished they could go back in the activity room and decorate their bag and/or crown. If people didn't want to wait for a spinner they could just walk around.
The first year I had teen volunteers at each station; in 2018 some really lovely ladies from the Fairytale Birthday Company volunteered their time and came as Grandma Nutt, Queen Frostine, and Princess Lolly. I also hired them in 2019.

Game outline
  • Start in Storyroom - get your spinner and treat bag
  • 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 "ice cream cones" in two artificial white xmas trees.
    • Queen Frostine
  • Candy cane forest
    • Candy canes and candy sticks (made with pool noodles and ribbon)
    • Mr. Mint cardboard cut-out
    • This is along the shelves leading between stations from the storyroom to the ice cream sea and the sea to the gingerbread house.
  • Gingerbread house
    • We finally figured out a way to build a better gingerbread house, using our cardboard makedo set.
    • Grandma Nutt
  • Lollipop land
    • Staff continue to improve on the lollipops - we've had a lot of trouble getting them to stay upright!
    • Princess Lolly
  • 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 hung a whole bunch of crepe streamers at the entryway in different colors to walk through and we also built castle walls at the entrance out of chocolate. There are also giant lifesavers (or doughnuts) and cardboard cutouts of Queen Frostine, King Kandy, Princess Lolly, etc.
    • This room had crowns for the kids to take and decorate as it was the final "winning" station as well as candy.
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!)
    • Plastic cups with paper, pompoms (first year we glued them to cardboard, second year free-standing)
  • 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
    • Hot glue
    • Tape, permanent markers
  • Rainbow drop painting
    • diffuser paper shapes (basically pre-cut coffee filters - figured out this is super easy to do with coffee filters on the die-cut, you don't need to purchase them)
    • scratch paper
    • water color in ice cube trays
  • Additional craft supplies for random crafting and decorating crowns and bags
    • markers, tape, glue
    • pipe cleaners
    • jewels and sequins
    • glitter glue
  • Cover tables with plastic sheeting, bring over sink (and towels), have paper towels available
2019 Photos, before and during

Photos from 2018, including the game layout

Photos from 2017, including the game layout

Evaluation from previous years
  • 12-14-19
    • Attendance: 150
    • Time: We did most of the work in three days this year, primarily building the house and touching up things from last year. I also spent a lot of prior time organizing things.
    • Staff: My whole staff worked shifts on Wednesday, I worked a half-day Thursday, then everyone came back Friday afternoon for set-up and Saturday for the program. We had about 5 teen volunteers on Friday and more on Saturday.
    • Costs: All the candy was donated this year. I paid for the princesses. Everything else was time.
    • Notes: The biggest change this year was volunteers sewed the gameboard path out of fabric and attached velcro. It was soooo much easier.
    • Next year: We are going to make sure we store everything carefully, to make it easier to put up again next year. We also need to set aside more time to refresh and rework the lollipop forest. I want to make more candy canes for the forests. We need more stickers - we didn't use all we had, but to spread them out takes up time. I had one and a half packs, so two would be enough. I need a megaphone or microphone to call teams. We need to finish velcro-ing the path, and possibly trim some of the pieces with pinking shears to cut down on fraying. The carpet sticky shrink wrap stuff was great for the pieces that didn't have velcro - next year I'd put it on the beginning and the high traffic areas.
    • Crafts - take out clay and possibly hot glue, add coloring sheets. More tables for coloring bags. Backup crafts in case of more lag time if we return to higher numbers.
  • 12-8-18
    • Attendance: 250-300
    • Time - most of the stuff was already made from last year. We made the gingerbread house fresh and touched up various cut-outs.
    • 2 staff worked earlier on Friday to start setting up and then three of us took about 4 hours to set up Friday night (note to self - next year I will quilt the gameboard instead of laying down 250 individual pieces of paper)
    • 3 staff started at 8am to finish setting up, next 2 staff came at 9. Game was finished roughly around 12:30 and then clean-up. I scheduled staff in staggered schedules until 1, 2, and 3.
    • Notes: Fresh game layout worked much better, as did having more spinners. Next year - quilt game pieces, have something for the kids to wear/carry as game pieces, and get a bullhorn!
  • 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.
    • 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 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.

No comments: