When my kids have a party with their friends, we usually do a craft (that I buy at the store all ready cut up and ready to just assemble since I have no crafting ability!), we let the kids play and run around and then go home. I'm not the mom who does treat bags, or cool party games. I wish I was- but those kinds of things just don't seem to happen in my house!
But this year was a little different. I've mentioned maybe a zillion times on this blog about how we are Amazing Race junkies. Sadie asked if she could have an Amazing Race themed birthday party with her friends. I'll be honest, I got so excited about this one, that I actually threw a party that required some thought! If you aren't familiar with the premise of The Amazing Race- teams are on a scavenger hunt type race that requires them to perform tasks to get their next clue to continue on in the race.
Sadie wrote and erased this sign at least 10 times before it was just like she wanted it!
The point is- we had an AMAZING time at this party and it was not that difficult to plan. If a birthday party underachiever like me could pull this one off, I'm convinced that anyone could do it!
First we sent the invitations (which I made by pulling the Amazing Race logo and simply pasting onto a word document). Easy peasy.
On the day of the party, excitement was high in our house! Since the kids are all 9 and under, we kept the area small (no traveling in cars or going out of sight in our neighborhood). Kamron took the kids to the end of the cul-de-sac, gave them the rules and then told them to take off running to find their first clue (on our front porch).
GranMary was there to pass out the first clue- which told teams to grab a golf ball and walk the length of the driveway with the ball on a spoon without it falling off. (I found a website that has a downloadable clue template with made the race clues seem so professional!)
This task proved to be way too easy for the age of the kids. If we ever do this again, I would change this task to make them carry the spoons in their mouths to add some challenge! Once the kids finished this challenge, their next clue sent them to the neighbor's house where they had to memorize a short poem-
After they memorized the poem, the kids had to come back to our house and recite the poem for the judge. Kamron played the role of a hardcore judge! He showed those kids no mercy! It took at least 4 or 5 tries for each team to get the poem right. It was so fun seeing them run back and forth between the houses trying to see which team would get the poem right first!
Reciting the poem for the judge.
Once the team memorized their poem and recited it correctly, they were given their next clue. Teams had to choose between two different tasks- eat a jalapeno pepper (quick but spicy) or make butter (easy, but time consuming)
I thought for sure that several of the teams would be squeamish about eating a hot pepper and would choose to make butter even though it would slow them down. However, all the kids were hard core and swallowed down those peppers! (And now I have enough cream to last me a lifetime!)
Immediately afterwords, I think they regretted the decision to eat peppers!
The world is full of difficult choices, no?
After they successfully ate the peppers (and chugged a lot of water!) they were given their next clue which led them inside the house for an eating challenge!
For this task, I took about 50 paper bathroom cups and filled them with various goodies (just enough to cover the bottom of the cup) About 6 or 7 of the cups had a smiley face drawn on the bottom of them. The object of the task was to pick up one cup and eat the contents. When you found a cup with a smiley on the bottom, you could receive your next clue. In retrospect, I would add a few more marked cups. The kids had to eat WAY too many cups to find the marked ones. They loved this challenge, though!
Once that challenge was completed, the next clue led them to the door of our basement where posters with each contestants' names were printed. Each girl at the party then had to write encouraging, kind words to each other party goer. I think it's never too early to teach our kids to value and honor their friendships (and to recognize and admire each other's strengths!)
I loved watching the girls effortlessly write sweet things to each other- and themselves. Yes, I made each girl write things that she liked about herself on her own paper. Self esteem building, people. Getcha some.
Good Lord, my basement window needs a good cleaning!?!
Once their affirmations to one another were complete (each sentiment had to be at least 50 characters long) they were given their next clue with led them to the kitchen table...
For this leg of the race, teams had to put together a 100 piece puzzle. For this age of kids- that was too many pieces! It took so long that we lost a little of the momentum of the "race" aspect. A 50 piece puzzle would have been better. Once a team completed their puzzle they were given their last clue which led them to the pit stop (finish line). Kamron was waiting at the finish line (the mat from our bathroom floor) to check them in. The first team to the finish line was...
Sadie and Gracie
Team Lucy and Miles and Team Alexis and Noah were not far behind.
We passed out lip gloss and candy bars at the pit stop for prizes. The kids had a blast on the giant scavenger hunt! I had so much fun that we are planning to do this the next time we have all of our friends over and have families race together as teams!
It was a pretty cheap party to throw as most of the tasks only required things we already had around the house or could be purchased at the dollar tree. Overall, the birthday girl said it was "the best party ever" and that's what really counts!