but is it really the best choice? There are so many other "spin and move", "roll and move", "pick a card and move" games out there.
Would anyone argue that a huge part the popularity of Candyland is that kids like candy and therefore, kids like things that are associated with Candy?
So does this mean that if you play "war" with cards you advocate actual war? Or if you play cops and robbers (does anyone do that anymore?) that you advocate theft?
Candy Land was one of my son's first board games. He's 7 years old and has never had a piece of candy in his life. Cookies and cake, yes. But not candy. And he doesn't ask for candy before, after, or during play.
To be honest, in light of all the things that often go on in homes--parents arguing, kids being abused, neglect, etc.--extolling which games are "best" or "more educational" seems silly to me. The public school systems already tries to make little scholars out of kids, robbing them of valuable play time and the true love of learning.
Other posters mentioned what can be learned from playing Candy Land. (And Chutes and Ladders is way too complicated for a first game.)
Better or worse is all relative. Different activities can teach a variety of lessons and skills. Learning is happening all the time, and happens more readily when kids don't KNOW it's educational (and when they're enjoying themselves).
The most important thing, IMO, is parents actually spending TIME with their children.