The bright colours and gorgeous design of ‘Candy Land’ makes it memorable for everyone who has played it before. This children’s game that allows you to travel through the magical candy realm and race to reach the Candy Castle actually has an immensely sentimental and moving story behind its creation.
During the 1940s the disease called Poliomyelitis, which is more commonly known as Polio, was affecting many and triggering panic. Polio mainly affects children who are under the age of five, so parents were terrified that their children would become sick. Polio is caused by a virus, and it is an extremely contagious disease. In the 1940s there was no vaccine in place yet, so it left many children ill. Polio causes muscle weakness, fatigue, headaches, stiffness in the neck, vomiting, and pain in the limbs. In severe cases, children could become paralyzed. Due to the fact there was no research on Polio, and nobody knew how to treat this disease, it impacted the lives of families everywhere.
It became strangely quiet throughout this time period, as children were kept indoors by their parents, who feared that their kids would catch the virus. There were no large groups of children running around and playing, and there was a major shift in the atmosphere of neighbourhoods everywhere.
In the hospitals, it was not quiet. It was hectic, as there was an overflowing number of cases and medical staff were extremely busy. In a San Diego hospital in the year 1948, Eleanor Abbott, a retired schoolteacher, was recovering from Polio. Eleanor witnessed firsthand the distressing time for children as they had to quarantine away from their families. The hospital was a distraught and saddened environment, and Eleanor wanted to do something to support the sick children. Thus came the creation of ‘Candy Land’, the board game that was designed to brighten the days of the children admitted at the hospital.
Eleanor Abbott’s wonderful creation became highly recognized as a game that many children everywhere enjoyed. She made the decision to pitch the ‘Candy Land’ idea to manufacturing company, Milton Bradley. At a rapid rate, ‘Candy Land’ jumped the ranks and became one of Milton Bradley’s fastest selling board games.
The altruistic school teacher not once lost sight of her focus and motivation, which was helping children. Eleanor Abbott inspiringly donated all income she received from ‘Candy Land’ to charities which were dedicated to assisting children in need.
‘Candy Land’ was an excellent creation for numerous reasons. First, this game provides entertainment for children who are not able to read or write, because all you must do to play is identify colours. For all of the parents reading, this works out perfectly because your children can amuse themselves and will not need supervision while playing. Furthermore, ‘Candy Land’ allows children to enter the world of imagination. As children trek through the Chocolate Mountain, Licorice Lagoon, and other amazing candy themed locations, they are able to experience a feeling they would only be able to dream about. And I know that children dream of candy, based on personal experiences from my childhood.
Eleanor Abbott’s ‘Candy Land’ has been a household game for generations, and I believe that it will continue to be one of those classic board games that children will always appreciate. I remember playing this game as a child (my brother even named one of our fish after one of the characters in ‘Candy Land’ called King Kandy) and I have many memories from playing. Finding out the heartfelt story behind ‘Candy Land’ made me so much more appreciative of this board game and Eleanor Abbott’s ideas, and I hope that you feel the same way!
‘Candy Land’ is rated for ages three and up and involves two to four players.