About 12 years ago my wife came up with the idea of a mega Simchat Torah CandyLand. This is beyond, beyond. Like you can even lick the walls. Since then the idea has been replicated in shul’s across the country. The purpose of this post is not to elaborate on the CandyLand (we can do that another time). Rather, there’s an idea that somebody gave us to augment the Candy Land experience and frankly many other programs in the shul geared towards children.
The drawback of the Candy Land was the utter chaos and rush of hundreds of kids stuffing their faces and their bags (bag management is another post we need. Remind me later). How do you streamline the process and actually make it something teachable? This past week Walter Mischel passed away. He was the famous architect of the Marshmallow Test (or AKA Delayed Gratification Study). See this article:
Figure out a way incentivize education through the Candyland! Meaning – for weeks leading up to the Candyland we give out Golden Tickets. These Golden Tickets are earned through davening, mitzvot and attendance. It helps prioritize the children of your membership (as oppose to Candyland crashers!). It encourages positive and developed behavior in an effort to gain access to a later prize.
Wishing you success,
Rabbi Shlomo Einhorn