Monday, May 16, 2011


Candyland, UKers, is children's game and one of the first board games that children in the US will learn to play. How to play: pick a card that features a colour and move your pawn to that colour. Yes, that is all. Yes, the game is that slack, but rightly so: the only nuance 2- to 4-year-olds can really appreciate is colour differentiation. For some overplayed parents, the mere shriek of the word 'Candyland' strikes terror in hearts for the game's soul-deadening dullness. Candyland does not have the same stranglehold on British toddlers as it does their American counterparts, so I was pretty surprised to have been able to buy one at a car boot sale here.

While I mock Candyland's completely transparent simplicity, it's a rather good game for a teacher like me to have. I work with struggling learners across the school. Struggling Primary 1 (P1; kindergarten in the US) pupils often lack skills of self-regulation. This is, in essence, a good memory, the ability to pay attention and the ability to control inhibitions. Simple board games, with their insistence on turn taking, strengthen these weak skills.

That being said, my Candyland game is currently being monopolised by a P6 child (a fifth grader). He borrows it and takes it to play with his best pal in class, every day. My Learning Assistant (LA) and I have to structure his lessons around the game: every time he gets an answer right, he gets to pick a card. After about her 800th game, my LA pulled me close to her side today.

"See if we don't play Candyland," she muttered murderously in my ear, "That's it: the day's a right-off." She glared at me and I'm awfully sure she made a throat slashing motion at me. Well, she did point right at me after she did it, just in case I wasn't sure.

Don't I know it how right she is! Perhaps this is foolishness though, but I'd rather paralyse a few million brain cells then deal with a non-Candyland lesson with his kid. I'm pretty sure I'll have to send the game up to high school with him, so I only have one more year of having to play this game. But for now, my LA said it right: we're being held hostage by *fucking* Candyland.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

another american game i missed as a child. thank you for edumacating me. i somehow really, really like the idea of this child one day being an adult and blogging on the impact that candyland, you know, that curious american game, had on his life back in the day. an even more annoying classic american game to pick up for your students...operation! then your l.a. would BEG for candyland.

random: i just went to wikipedia to find out what chutes & ladders was called in the uk (i'd forgotten) and discovered that it's really an 'ancient indian game.' i remember always feeling slightly bad while playing. it was so freaking moralistic. BAD ERIN! YOU BROKE A DISH! = YOU ARE A BAD CHILD! NOT WINNING! sigh.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011 at 04:12:00 BST  

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