Newton Falls– Visitors to the local history room at the Newton Falls Public Library last Wednesday found they had a new path to take to get to their destination: a brightly colored, candy-laden trail guarded by characters both sugary sweet and grimly gooey.
A Candyland board game, life-sized for pint-sized players, filled up the entire room between the history center and the stairwell, inviting children ages 3-8 to live out one of their favorite kid-friendly activities. This idea was literally thinking out of the box: scenes and creatures from the classic game came to life as oversized cutouts set at appropriate intervals true to the landscape of the familiar playtime backdrop.
Along the winding road of individual squares, the children had the opportunity to dance past the sugar fairy at Snowflake Lake, get lost in the Licorice Forest, keep sane passing Peanut Acres, and try not to get stuck in the melting mud at the Chocolate Swamp, while successfully sneaking past Glumpy, the Swamp’s gooey guardian. According to game rules, a player would draw a colored card from the deck – in this case individual paper bags – and take a “move” to the next square on the floor corresponding with the color they had drawn. Double-square cards meant even more progress! At various points, in addition to slipping past the vivid characters, the children were instructed to keep an eye out for bowls of real candy matching the imaginary counterparts in the game. A special treat of chocolate chip cookies awaited finishers at the last stop just inside the final fortress of the Candy Castle.
Organizer Chrissy Braun, clad in a vintage-style Candyland t-shirt in appropriate chocolate brown, explained this is the third year the library in Newton Falls has been transformed into a lane of lollipops, but before that she and a colleague hosted a similar experience for children in Stow. Art students from Newton Falls High School helped to paint the giant props and Braun herself tried a creative hand at some of the artwork. The fantasy land only lasted until 6 pm and then reality interceded, but the flavorful fun will come back next year. In the meantime, there will be lots of other exciting events going on at this library and those in neighboring communities.
For other great area activities for kids, check out http://www.newtonfalls.org (Newton Falls Library), http://www.wtcpl.lib.oh.us (Warren), http://www.portagecounty.lib.oh.us (G-ville/ Windham/ Hiram/ Mantua), or your own local library website for crafts, storytime hours, and tot programs!
Oh, and be sure to catch “Puppy Tails” to follow the adventures of Doodle Dog, every other week in The Villager!