We met a bunch of our neighborhood friends at our local playground. Now, this is a playground restricted to just the people who live in our subdivision (which admittedly is huge), so it is nearly always completely empty. But this time, pretty much everyone we know who lives in our subdivision was there, so the playground was almost crowded. We let the kids play for a little while on the playground and I went over around behind the pool fence and spread a bunch of candy canes out. (Everyone who came brought at least a box of candy canes. A few of us brought those little tiny ones. I think we must have had at least three hundred candy canes.) I also had picked up some candy cane pens and some of those unbreakable Christmas balls that are meant to go on Christmas trees.
I hung some of the candy canes on trees and put some under the bushes, but mostly I just spread them out on the ground because we had so many little kids.
Then we gathered up all the kids, including three random kids that also happened to be on the playground, and gave them each a bag. Then we set them loose. And let me tell you, there were some pretty excited kids there.
They ran around and collected all the candy canes and put them in their bags and shrieked delightedly and were absolutely astonished to find another candy cane. And look! Another one right here! And another one over here! Wow, another one over here!
We ought to have put some limits on the big kids, because of those three random kids we picked up in the playground, two of them were school age (compared to all of ours being two and three and a four) (and also two one year olds) and they ended up getting more than their fair share and almost all of the non candy cane things. But everyone ended up getting plenty of candy, so I don’t know that it mattered.
This was definitely one of my favorite activities. Next year, I’d like to even make it a bigger event, since this year we did it quickly in the neighborhood right before dinner and only invited people who live within two minutes of that playground. I think it would have been even more fun with all of our friends.
Also, next year, I’d like to combine this one with another activity I read about recently and therefore didn’t have time to put on this year’s calendar. I saw in Family Fun Magazine that a woman in the south holds an annual “snowball” fight in her neighborhood. The price of admission is a package of new socks and they ball up all the socks and throw them at each other, pretending to have a snowball fight. And then someone takes all the socks home and washes them and they are donated to a shelter. (I’d probably do children’s socks and donate them to our local foster care lady since that is where we’ve been sending most of our donations lately.)
So my plan for next year is to hold both events together. Then while the children are pelting each other with balled up socks, a few of the adults can hide/scatter the candy canes and we can go from there. But this was really fun, easy, and took very little preparation. In fact, since it was so easy, that is why I ended up having it just as a neighborhood thing, I didn’t realize it would be this popular and this successful since it was so easy to plan. This year, I am going to run through the after-Christmas sales and pick up some Christmas stuff to add to the candy canes next year.
And did Elizabeth mention that there was candy?