Bristlecone Student Spotlight: Sixth graders have life-sized fun at Riverside Middle School |

Bristlecone Student Spotlight: Sixth graders have life-sized fun at Riverside Middle School

Alondra Vargas and Jayden Gonzales present the crowns for the winners.

Jump on the colorful path with some of your favorite people to race each other past the Gumdrop Mountain, the Peppermint Forest and the Lollipop Woods.

Try your hardest not to get sent back as you near the Chocolate Waterfall, because then you know the Candy Castle is just right around the bend. 

Almost everyone has played Candy Land at least once in their life, but have you ever played it on a life-sized board?

Jayden Gonzales and Alondra Vargas stand next to Candy Castle to show off their hard work.
Cassandra Ballard/Post Independent

The sixth grade art students at Riverside Middle School in New Castle made one just for their families and little siblings to enjoy for years to come. 

Each month the Post Independent features a student spotlight in Garfield County, chosen and supported by the nonprofit Bristlecone Art Collaborative.

Riverside art teacher Verity Amato said she had students who were interested in making the game life-sized and what better time than for the school’s family night? It would give the students something to show off proudly, and it would also give little siblings something extra special to do. 

On family night, families filled the middle school library to show off the game and have people play. The students who brainstormed and created it, stood next to their large collaborative work to explain their artistic decisions.

“They did everything,” Amato said.”They were very creative and happy to do it. Everyday it was awesome to watch them work.”

The collaboration, independence and teamwork of the students were inspiring. 

Students Alondra Vargas and Jayden Gonzales both made the Candy Castle at the winning end of the game and Vargas said she worked with Gonzales to create the castle because he wasn’t fully sure what he was going to do with it. 

Stephen Morris and Dakota Centeno prepare to crown the next winners.

They even got extra creative and made cardboard crowns that sat on a cardboard pillow to crown the winners. Each of the students who were there to guide the game took turns crowning the winners. 

The Chocolate Waterfall was created by another student, Dakota Centeno, at the final bend of the game, right before the end of the path. He had a fun time creating it and thought it was satisfying to make the chocolate splash down the mountain.

Student Stephen Morris said he worked on the Candy Cane Forest because, what is Candy land without the Peppermint Forest?

Amato said after the students decided to take the art project on, she had the students map it out to get an idea of the scale, and they took it from there. The only other requirements were that it needed to stand up when people played on it, and it needed to fold up to be put away so it could be played again in the future. 

Dakota Centeno stands next to the Chocolate Waterfall the he worked on with a couple other students.
Cassandra Ballard/Post Independent

Making it portable was one of the bigger challenges that caused the students to have a lot of trial and error, but it just helped them to be more innovative with their execution. 

Amato said it also brought out a lot of unexpected creativity from students, like painting the bottoms of some of the placements to make it look more realistic. 

The game was created to stay at the school for at least the next three years, so the students who created it can access it the whole time they are at Riverside. If you attend any family events at the elementary school in the future be sure to play a round of Candy Land. 

Bristlecone Arts Collaborative is a nonprofit organization dedicated to enriching art education. Help them continue their programming like this Student Spotlight by donating on their website at, linking your City Market card (link on their website), and liking them on Facebook at BristleconeArtsCollaborative.

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