"Candy Land" Comes to Yuma, AZ

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Hasbro’s popular board game “Candy Land” has come to the Joe Henry Optimist Center Park in Yuma, AZ with the help of custom stencils from Fit and Fun Playscapes!

The project, which was made possible with the support of The Walt Disney Company through the Meet Me at the Park Play Spaces Program from the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), the Community Development Block Grant funding (CDBG), and the City of Yuma, opened on April 7. The newly designed park featured attractions from Hasbro’s “Candy Land,” including custom stencils of the Lollipop Palace, Peppermint Forest, Licorice Lagoon and King Kandy’s Castle, all painted in thick layers of bright Sherwin-Williams paint in order to match the vivacity of the original board game.

“The life-sized version of Candy Land will guide children and families onto a magical path,” said Adriana Medrano, a neighborhood services specialist for the city of Yuma. “Through Lollipop Palace and Peppermint Forest, they will encounter challenges such as hopscotch, a maze, lunges, burpees, tight-rope walk, and bean bag toss. Licorice Lagoon will be overcome with physical activities that will encourage balance, coordination, dexterity, physical strength, and problem-solving. The sidewalks surrounding the park will be replaced with a safe, handicapped accessible surface and brightly painted with a total of 15 colorful activities suitable for children of any age and aptitude to inspire their imaginations, develop physical literacy, challenge each other in a friendly competitive environment, foster emotional and social interactions, improve spatial awareness, and follow a path through nature that will capture their interest in exploration. The Bean Bag Toss will help children with mobility limitations, to increase hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills. All players will win when they reach King Kandy’s Castle.”

Prior to the grand opening, volunteers worked ceaselessly for several weeks to lay Fit and Fun’s custom stencils into a final product worthy of the Candy Land name. Community members from across Yuma came together for the event, featuring free health screenings, ice cream, and hot dogs while also teaching children the importance of nutrition and physical exercise. Children were even encouraged to complete in a Candy Land obstacle course for a chance to win a brand-new bicycle, which was raffled off at the conclusion of the ceremony to one lucky winner!

Fit and Fun Playscapes was proud to work with the city of Yuma to contribute to this unique event, and here’s one of the reasons why: 

According to the CDC, 10.7% of adolescents and 14.9% of children who are a part of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children in Arizona are obese.

And, contrary to the popular myth, childhood obesity is not on the decline. A Feb. 2018 study published in the magazine Pediatrics, for example, found a sharp increase in childhood obesity, particularly among children aged 2-5 years. Among factors like poverty and lack of access to healthy foods, inactivity also stood out. Children are also spending more and more time in front of the screen than ever before. As of 2015, thestateofobesity.org reported that 41.7% of high school students spent three or more hours per day on a computer--and not for schoolwork.

Fit and Fun Playscapes helps children get outdoors and be active by providing innovative, high-quality, custom stencils that promote health, wellness and mindfulness through social-emotional and action-based learning. It is a belief of Fit and Fun Playscapes that teaching children early on about the importance of physical exercise leads to healthier practices later in life. The Candy Land project in Yuma, AZ is just one of the many unique projects Fit and Fun Playscapes has been involved with over the last 10 years.

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