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Candy Land® is a simple, racing board game that was invented in the 1940s by California native Eleanor Abbott while she was recuperating from polio. Abbot kept herself occupied by creating games and activities for hospitalized children who were also victims of the disease.
Candy Land®’s gingerbread-man game pieces, Gum Drop Mountain, Gingerbread Plum Tree, and Peppermint Stick Forest proved to be so popular with the kids that Abbot submitted her game idea to the Milton Bradley Company. Milton Bradley quickly agreed to buy the rights to the game and first offered Candy Land to the American public in 1949. The game was advertised as “a sweet little game… for sweet little folks” and it sold for $1.00 (US Dollars).
Candy Land® is often considered a rite of passage for preschoolers since the game puts them at an even playing level as their parents. Requiring no reading ability and only minimal counting skills, Candy Land® is recommended for two to four players aged three to six. Candy Land® teaches kids how to take turns, learn rules, count, and be both good winners and losers. The board game also helps children increase their color recognition skills.
Candy Land®’s rules of play are straightforward. The game is woven around a simple story line about finding the lost king of Candy Land. The board is made up of a winding path consisting of 134 spaces. Most of the spaces are red, orange, yellow, green, violet, or blue. The rest of the spaces are characters like Gramma Nutt and Queen Frostine or locations with yummy names such as Gum Drop Mountain and Candy Cane Forest.
Players advance along the colorful path using plastic gingerbread cookie people as playing pieces. A player draws a card, and then his or her pawn is moved by matching the pictures and colors on the card to the corresponding spaces on the game board. There are a few barriers along the way, including being stuck in the molasses swamp or getting lost in the lollipop woods. The first one to reach the Candy Castle at the end of the path is declared the winner.
Candy Land® is still being made and sold today by Hasbro®, Inc., and copies of the game are readily available. Candy Land® has become a cultural icon in the US, where it is among the first board games played by children. Parents also seem to enjoy this simple, but fun, game and the bonding time it gives them with their preschoolars.