Idea No.


Amazing Race 9yr - Party Video Gift



April 2004


Jennifer in Houston, TX, USA


Amazing Race Party

Amazing Race Party.  My son chose to have an Amazing Race theme for his 9th birthday.  This party was a blast - it took a lot of planning, but it was so much fun.  For those who are not familiar with the show, the Amazing Race is a reality tv show that has teams of 2 race around the world to different route markers where they have to perform specific tasks that they called "road blocks" and "detours".  At the end of each episode, the last team to arrive at the "pit stop" would be eliminated from the race. 

For our party, my husband and I sat down and brainstormed different tasks that the kids could do realistically, but also challenging.  Here is how our party went:  The invitations were printed on 8 1/2 X 11 sheets of yellow cardstock.  I designed the amazing race logo on one side and the party info on the other.  I tri-folded the invites to look like the clues on the show.  I perforated the edges and glued a piece of kite string inside before gluing the invite together.  This way, the kids had to "rip open" the invite using the string.    We asked the kids to arrive at 10:00 am at our house. 

We divided the 12 kids into 4 teams of 3 kids each. Each child received a color coded team t-shirt.  We dyed t-shirts for the kids.  There was a green team, a red team, a blue team and an orange team.  I printed the amazing race logo onto transfer paper and ironed them on the t-shirts.  I made laminated name tags for each child and adult volunteer as well that they wore around their necks with yellow lanyards.  Each team had an adult volunteer who was their driver.  We also had 3 adults who carried video cameras and recorded the entire race.  We gathered all the teams together and gave them the race instructions.  

There would be 4 tasks involved in our race two road blocks and two detours.  A road block is a task that the entire team must complete together.  A detour was a choice between two different tasks - one would be easy, but take longer:  the other would be harder but if accomplished would result in being done faster.  We gathered the teams in the front yard, the drivers were at their race vehicles, the cameramen were taping, and we gave the teams their first "clue".  (These clues were printed just like the invitations - inside it said what the task was.  The kids ripped open each clue with the string). 

The first Road Block:  Teams must make their way to Memorial Middle School and run one lap around the running track.  Once all 3 members of the team cross the finish line - you will receive the next clue.  (This really separated the teams - some teams ran all the way around - some jogged - some walked - it was so fun to see them).   

The next task was a Detour:  Teams must now make their way to Bunker Hill Bowling Alley where they had to choose between "with bumpers" and "without bumpers".   (I had a grown up volunteer on each lane and had talked to the manager ahead of time and reserved two lanes).  In "with bumpers" teams took turns rolling the ball down the lane - if they got a strike with one ball, they received the next clue.  In "without bumpers" teams took turns rolling the ball down the lane - if they knocked down at least 7 pins with one ball, they got the next clue - this was harder because there were not any gutter bumpers up).  Some teams accomplished this on their first turn - others took forever.  It was great!   

The next Road Block:  Teams must now make their way to the Spring Branch FFA pig farm (we have a friend who was raising a pig for a school project).  Teams must find the feed building, measure out exactly 1lb of pig food, run across the farm to the pig house, find the route marker flag and feed the pig, then return the feed bucket and get the next clue.  (I had a friend at both the feed building and the pig house).  This task was especially fun to watch who was squealing louder than the pigs! 

The next Detour:  Teams must now make their way to Memorial City Mall's food court.  Once there they had to choose between "spin" or "spend".  Inside this clue were (3) $1 bills - just enough to complete one of the tasks.  In "spin" teams would exchange their dollars for tokens to ride the carousel in the food court.  This task is simple and safe, but could take awhile because it was a Saturday and the line could be long.  All members of the same team must ride the carousel at the same time.  Once they were off the ride, they would get the next clue.  But once they bought their tokens, they couldn't switch to the other task because their money was spent.  In "spend", teams would go to the arcade in the food court and exchange their money for game tokens.  Teams needed to play games that gave tickets.  Once they acquired 40 tickets, they would get their next clue.  This could be risky because if they ran out of money before getting enough tickets, they would receive a 10 minute time penalty.  (I had adult volunteers at both the carousel and the arcade). 

The final clue:  Teams must now make their way to the final pit stop:  our house.  We had a yellow and black balloon arch over the driveway as the finish line.  The drivers dropped the kids off about 5 houses away.  The teams ran down the street (it was safe) and across the finish line.  I had told the parents and other family members to come to the party around noon to cheer on the teams as they came to the end of the race.  All teams finally got back and the whole experience was done.  Once at the pit stop - we had Quiznos subs, chips, soda and other snacks.  For the winning team?  Well.. They received a check for a million dollars - actually it was a giant rectangular cookie from the cookie company decorated like a check, written out for a million dollars.  The cookie company gave me a cup of extra icing that I used to fill in the winning team.  We took pictures of the check presentation saying that now that they "won", they had to share their winning check with the rest of the teams - so everyone had cookie cake and ice cream. 

The kids were given party bags that were yellow bags with the amazing race logo stuck on the outside.  Inside were misc things like those yo yo balls, some bubble gum tape, nerds gum, a deck of cards with $100 bills as the design, etc.  The kids also got their name tag, a water bottle, and their t-shirt as souveniers.  As decorations, we used yellow and black everything:  balloons table cloths, napkins, forks etc.  I also made route marker flags out of yellow and red fabric that were nailed to wooden stakes.  These were at all of the tasks so the kids knew exactly where they should go.  I also made car window flags for each of the drivers' vehicles to make it look more official. 

But the best part of it all...was the cameramen.  We got all the teams on tape doing all of these tasks - just like on the tv show.  The cameramen would literally run after the kids - so the tape is all bumpy and stuff - just full of action.  We put all the tapes together and spliced it together with written comments across the bottom.  We made it look like an actual episode of the Amazing Race.  Each child received a copy of the video as a thank you gift.  This party was a lot of pre-planning - but everyone had a blast.  The adults were so energetic and really into the whole theme.  The competition was fun, too.

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