Step-by-Step Tutorial for Gingerbread CandyLand Game – Includes Downloadable Templates (here) to Help You Start Building This Amazing Holiday DIY Game Right Away
Christmas is around the corner yet again, and that means kiddos are counting the days until Santa arrives. We know there are a ton of paper advent calendars out there to build excitement around the 25th, but this year, you can make a new kind: a gingerbread CandyLand game! Decide whether you'd like to do the step-by-step guide to make this a true advent calendar (and add an element to the board every day), or do it all at once as a family.
We're full of fanciful candy ideas at CandyStore.com, but sometimes our eyes are bigger than our expertise. To create this edible advent calendar masterpiece, we turned to expert baker, crafter, and DIY extraordinaire, Kaz Weida from A Sweet Little Life, to transform a childhood dream into a real life Christmas countdown. Below, you'll find a step-by-step guide to recreate this CandyLand gingerbread advent calendar at home, including tips, printable templates, a supply list, and two gingerbread recipes. May your countdown to Christmas be filled with fun and yumminess!
How to Make Your Own Gingerbread Candy Land Advent Calendar
This advent calendar is spread out over the course of 25 days because it's quite large, but we've made it fun to do with family and quite easy if you follow our guide.
December 1: Prep day
The first day of December is prep day where you'll want to make your platform and mix up your gingerbread dough.
For the dough:
- Read through the traditional and blonde gingerbread recipes
- Make a double batch of both traditional and blonde doughs
- Chill doughs in the refrigerator overnight, so they're ready to be rolled out and cut tomorrow
For the board:
This is what your gingerbread Candy Land game will rest on, so it's important to set it up for success by remembering the following.
- The board dimensions should be 32″ by 48″ to mimic what we've done with ours
- Cut sturdy cardboard or plywood to this size and cover it in foil
For the characters:
- Download and print our original gingerbread Candy Land templates.
- Cut out your templates and set them aside for tomorrow
December 2: Bake!
Enlist your little elves to help you do this fun step: the baking of the gingerbread!
What to do
- Roll out your gingerbread dough
- Use your templates to cut out characters
- Follow baking instructions for each of the doughs
- Let gingerbread cool completely before storing in an air-tight container
December 3: Prepare the board
This is where your Candy Land advent calendar will start taking shape! Unwrap Starburst and attach them to the platform with small dabs of royal icing. As you work with royal icing, be sure to keep it covered with a damp cloth or it will dry out. Also, alternate which color Starburst you use like we did below.
December 4: Set up your first characters!
The gingerbread men will go at the start of your Candy Land spaces. Keep yours simple or copy what we've done with ours. Either use store-bought red, white, and green icing, or make your own by using this royal icing recipe and food coloring to give it holiday hues. We made all of our icing ahead of time and stored it in the refrigerator, so it was easier to grab and use each day than creating a brand new batch each time.
December 5: Build the Rainbow Bridge Trail
This colorful shortcut in Candy Land is one of the prettiest elements of the whole game. To recreate this on your gingerbread Candy Land advent calendar board, cut lengths of colored licorice and use the edible glue, royal icing, to affix these vibrant licorice sticks to the platform. Not sure where to put it? Reference our final photo of the finished product to see where this bridge should be located on your board.
December 6: Decorate the Gingerbread Tree
In the original game of Candy Land, the gingerbread plum tree hung out by Plumpy, but we've made this into an apple tree to show off some Christmas colors. Use red, brown, and green royal icing to frost your gingerbread tree and speckle it with Red Imperials or Red Hots to make it look like it's brimming with apples.
December 7: Make the Mint Forest sign
Take one of your sign-shaped gingerbread pieces and frost it with white icing. Then, letter “Mint Forest” in red before using icing to stick it onto a piece of candy cane and adding it to the board.
December 8: Plant your Peppermint Forest
Now that you've made the sign, you can create this aromatic and beautiful candy cane forest! Take both small and large candy canes and mount them to the platform using royal icing. This is a quick step your kids can handle on their own.
December 9: Mr. Mint
Mr. Mint is the keeper of the Peppermint forest and one of the most well known Candy Land characters. Follow our lead on decorating technique below and finish Mr. Mint with snowflake sprinkles, a Red Imperial (or Red Hot) nose, and candy cane ax.
December 10: Put up the Gumdrop Mountain sign
Frost another sign-shaped gingerbread piece and carefully write “Gumdrop Mtn.” While the frosting is still wet, stick a gumdrop to it and let it dry completely before using a dab of royal icing to put it on the board.
December 11: Build Gumdrop Pass
Gumdrop Pass is another shortcut in the original Candy Land game that helps players get to the castle quicker! To make your own version, use royal icing to mount gumdrops in alternating red and green between two sections of path (as shown on the final layout photo).
December 12: Decorate Jolly
Jolly lives in the Gumdrop Mountains and lives up to his name too. He's a happy character your family will love adding to this board. Break out the royal icing yet again and adorn with gumdrops and a Red Imperial nose before he dries.
December 13: Add Lord Licorice
Lord Licorice is Candy Land's only real villain. His main goal is to rule over Candy Land and turn everything into his favorite treat, licorice. However, you have the upper hand in this game since you can gobble him up! But before you do, frost Lord Licorice and use a Red Imperial candy for a nose and a piece of licorice for his plume.
December 14: Licorice Forest
Lord Licorice rules over the Licorice Forest. To give him his home, make licorice trees by winding each piece of licorice around floral wire. When we did this step, it took six pieces of licorice and about a foot of floral wire to create these edible trees. Once assembled, the floral wire will help you arrange the branches in lifelike ways. If you're stuck on this step, find a good online tutorial for help.
December 15: Make the Peanut Acres sign
You're more than half way to Christmas, so celebrate by frosting the banner sign for Peanut Acres—the beginning of the creamiest Candy Land-scape. You should be a champ at this by now after frosting two other signs, so use the same method with your royal icing and top it off with a few fresh peanuts. *If your child is allergic to nuts, this could easily be transformed into gummy bear acres or something similar.
December 16: Build the Nutt House
This isn't Candy Land's looney bin. Instead, it's where the friendly Granmma Nutt lives. This is the biggest advent day thus far, and will require about an hour to complete.
To make the Nutt House,
- Fix the main walls to the platform using royal icing
- Use foil balls or other props to keep the house upright and in place
- Let the icing dry for several hours before applying roof
- Once that's attached, wait another hour until the icing is dry and then frost the outside and adorn with peanut brittle, peanuts, and chocolate rocks
December 17: Decorate Gramma Nut
Now that Gramma Nutt has a place to live, bring her to life! Do so by frosting Grandma Nutt with your homemade or store-bought royal icing, then use peanuts for yummy accents.
December 18: Make Nutt Dog
Gramma Nutt has a furry friend, Nutt Dog! This character doesn't use gingerbread, but a candy circus peanut to form the 3D body. Frost one candy circus peanut and let it dry. Then, draw Nutt Dog's ears and give him a happy face. To finish, mount raw peanuts onto his underside to make four cute and delicious feet.
December 19: Finish the final sign, Lollipop Woods!
This is the last sign you have to make for your gingerbread Candy Land advent calendar! That means you're almost done and it's almost Christmas. Frost the last banner gingerbread cutout and write “Lollipop Woods” on the front. Use another piece of candy cane to mount this sign and then stick it on your board with a dollop of icing.
December 20: Create Lollipop Woods
We love this step since the lollipops only need a bit of frosting to become part of the board. Choose a handful of lollipops and set them inside a deep pocket of royal icing. Don't jostle the board for an hour, so these pretty lollipop trees have time to put down their roots.
December 21: Make Princess Lolly
You're down to the final countdown to Christmas and now it's time to make your royal family! Start with Princess Lolly by frosting her with your royal icing and using frosting to glue a lollipop in her hand.
December 22: Make Snowflake Lake
Queen Frostine likes to hang out by Snowflake Lake because it's so pretty and delicious! Create your own snowflake lake by thinning a bit of royal icing with cream until it's like pancake batter. Dribble a small puddle on the board, then drop a little blue food coloring into the middle. With a toothpick, stir the icing until it's a uniform light blue color and sprinkle with snowflake candies before it hardens.
December 23: Build the Chocolate Swamp and decorate Gloppy
Gloppy gots his name because he lives in the goopy chocolate swamp—yum! To finish off your Candy Land regions, this is what you need to do to make the Chocolate Swamp:
- Melt a small amount of milk chocolate
- Drizzle melted chocolate into an irregular shape on the Candy Land board.
- Mount Bit O Honey candies on toothpicks and use green Fruit Jems as leaves to give it an extra pretty detail
Gloppy is goofy, so frost him with a funny, big grin and set him on the board in his chocolate paradise.
December 24: Make King Santa and Queen Frostine
The lord and lady who rule over this rendition of Candy Land are Queen Frostine and King Santa. Make your royal highnesses on Christmas Eve by following the directions below.
For Queen Frostine:
Queen Frostine (Princess Frostine in most modern Candy Land games) represents class, elegance, and kindness. Give her a royal treatment by frosting her with royal icing, using white Tic Tacs for her crown jewels, and dipping the end of a candy cane in frosting and snowflake sprinkles for the final touch. Place her by the castle (to complete tomorrow) or the finish line.
For King Santa:
We took the liberty of adding a Christmas-themed character to this edible advent calendar, King Santa! Use an experienced hand to decorate with royal icing, but let your little ones garnish King Santa with red and green M&Ms, snowflake sprinkles, and a scepter made of candy cane. Tomorrow you'll add the castle, and the Candy Land kingdom will be complete!
December 25: Finish with the castle and snow!
Merry Christmas! The day is finally here and that means you can celebrate by finishing off your gingerbread Candy Land advent calendar with the castle and snow.
For the castle:
- If you're crunched for time on Christmas day, you can assemble a pre-ordered castle gingerbread kit
- If you plan on making every last piece in this epic gingerbread advent calendar, then you'll need to download Wilton's gingerbread castle template and follow their directions to create this masterpiece.
We used royal icing instead of melted candy to assemble this castle, so you can too to avoid making an extra supply. When you're done, make sure to top with sour cherry drops, ice cream cones, peppermint stirrers, green and red gumdrops, and more to give it a beautiful Christmas look.
For the snow:
- Combine 1/2 cup granulated sugar and 2 Tbsp of coconut flakes
- Pulse in food processor until fine dust is formed
- Sprinkle snow on the entire board and use a pastry brush to remove unwanted flakes from the top of paths and characters.
The Finished Product
Now that it's Christmas, your edible Candy Land should look a lot like ours below! Make sure to display it on a table or as a centerpiece, so all your guests can marvel at your creativity and skill.
Everything you need to complete Candy Land
Download and print these to ensure your characters, signs, and houses are made to the right size.
Recipe for traditional gingerbread: Link
This is everything you'll need to make this gingerbread Candy Land. Order online or head to the store to pick up these supplies.
- Platform 32 x 48 (we recommend plywood or very sturdy cardboard reinforced with packing tape)
- Ingredients for blonde gingerbread dough
- Ingredients for traditional gingerbread dough
- Exacto knife
- Parchment paper
- Royal icing
- Starburst (4, 14 oz. packages)
- Food coloring (red, green, white, blue, brown)
- Offset spatula or knife for icing
- Small red, white, and green candies (Sixlets, Red Hots, Red Imperials, M&Ms, etc.)
- Rainbow licorice
- Regular and mini candy canes
- Piping bag with fins and large tips
- Snowflake sprinkles
- Red and green gumdrops
- Cinnamon Imperial candies
- Red Licorice
- Green floral wire
- Peanut brittle
- Chocolate rocks
- Circus peanuts
- White Tic Tacs
- Milk chocolate
- Fruit Gems (green)
- Bit O’ Honey candies
- Red and green M&Ms
- Ice Cream Cones
- Sour Cherry Balls
- Peppermint striped stirrers
We hope you use this gingerbread Candy Land advent calendar tutorial to start a new tradition with your family and make the holiday season even more exciting! Once finished, please share your photos of the finished product below, as well as stories about memories made while making this edible Christmas countdown.