Candy Land…more than just a game


Another one of Cali’s current goals is learning how to sequence (e.g., “first we did ___, then we went ___, and lastly we ___.”). Whether the sequencing involves the current day’s activities, what to watch for on a walk, or the steps to a board game, she needs help with it all.  So today, Madi did an activity to help Cali accomplish this goal (all though there are many other objectives that pertain to this activity as well: turn taking, attending to an activity, engagement level.).


The activity was to play Candy Land. Yes, Candy Land. How many times have we ALL played this game, whether as a child or more recently with a child? I definitely have numerous times; but, how many times have we played the game with the intent to learn or teach the concept of sequencing? Probably not many.


When Madi brought the game out, I wasn’t quite sure how she was going to teach this concept. She proceded to take a piece of paper and draw out three steps for each person to follow during their designated turn. After seeing the steps I immediately realize how Candy Land was in fact, a great way to teach Cali the idea of sequencing. These were the steps Madi drew out for each of us to follow:


1.  Pick card


2. Look at card


3. Move friend


Before going forward, let me mention a CRITICAL piece of information that will significantly help when using this game for the first time with a child. Today was the first day Cali had ever attempted to play Candy Land. If you can see from the photo, Candy Land is an EXTREMELY visually stimulating board game. As we started going with Cali, she had a very difficult time focusing and tuning into our instructions. It wasn’t until about 5 minutes into the game, when Madi realized where the lack of focus was stemming from. Cali couldn’t possibly focus because all of her attention was on the colorful, extremely busy picture on the game board. A cupcake here, gingerbread house there, and almost every other whimsical, Candy Land type picture you can think of, was capturing every ounce of Cali’s attention. Here is the critical information Madi gave me, to help me know how to help Cali with more focus and attention while playing the game:

*When introducing games to Cali for the first time, give her three to five minutes before starting the game to gaze over the board and play with any parts if available. This way, when your start the actual game, Cali will be more focused on the the rules of the game and less focused on all the new and excited pictures or parts of the game.

Aha!! Such and easy fix, but one I never would have thought of on my own. Once again, I was reminded how very lucky I am to have two brains trying to figure Cali out instead of just one:)

The next time I decide to play Candy Land with Cali, I will follow this process:

1. Allow Cali to look over the game for 3-5 minutes (a kind of free play) before actually starting the rules of the game.

2. During this time, write and draw up the three steps (as shown above) to help Cali understand the sequence of how to play when her turn presents itself.

3. Once the 3-5 minutes is up, have Cali choose the color of her player.

4. Have myself go first so I can model following the steps that are drawn out on the piece of paper.

5. Next is Cali’s turn. I will ask, “Cali, what’s first?” As I point to the number one on the piece of paper.

6. I will procede to ask, “Cali, what’s next?”, while pointing to what’s next, and “Cali, what’s last?”, while pointing to what’s last.

7. After Cali completes her turn, I ask, “Cali, who’s turn is next?”

8. I repeat the process until the game is complete.

With this being a new game to Cali, I can probably figure she is going to have to play a number of times before I can stop asking, “What’s first?” “What’s, next?” “What’s, last?” But once again, practice makes perfect!!!

Try this one out for yourself and see if your child’s understanding of sequencing (in a general sense) increases. Let me know how it works!!

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  1. My girls got candy Land for their birthday. We tried to play it, and it was kind of a disaster! So we stopped playing it and just let them have a free for all with the cards and men. I will have to try this am let you know how it goes!

  2. Not only is this great for sequencing, but it is also GREAT for introducing basic game structure. How many games can you think of that have sequencing? All board games, and even games like Duck, Duck, Goose. Using a visual at first for common child games will eliminate the confusion of learning a game and will allow the child to focus more on the social interactions.

    One activity, SO many different applications. Awesome post, Chelsea. I love it!

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