Thursday, April 25, 2013

It was an Amazing Race! (Teen Birthday Party)

It's finally done!  That's why I haven't had time to post regularly. I've been working on this party for my boy who recently turned 16.  The party was awesome, if I do say so myself, but it was a lot of work!  But now I've done most of the work for you, feel free to take my ideas and run with them, or race with them as the story goes.

First I scoured the internet for ideas for an Amazing Race party and found quite a few good ideas, but most of them didn't take care of all the finishing touches.  All the little details that make the party great.  I'm really not trying to brag or anything, but it turned out much better, and a little different then I imagined.

Second, since the original show takes the players all over the globe, I wanted to re-create a little of that.  So I looked through images of flags from around the world.  I chose 12 of the more easier designed flags, pulled out my fabric stash and made flags for each of the countries.

The cut size was 20x30 inches.  They were pieced together and then sewn and roll-hemmed.
I may make them into a quilt someday but I already have a request to borrow them for an upcoming youth activity at church, so the quilt will wait.

The 12 countries I chose were Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden, and Japan.  My husband asked why I chose the countries I did when we were making up the location clues and I said just by the flag design.

I went to Goodwill and found 3 different color sheets for $1 each and ripped them up in to bandana size.  Each kid got a bandana in their team color to wear the rest of the night.  If you look close in the pics you will see them on the kids.  The colors were Blue, Yellow, and Red.

Then I solicited the help from a few of my neighbors to help with the challenges.  I needed locations close by for the kids to go to for each challenge.  I ended up with more volunteers than challenges which was nice.  
There was a total of 8 challenges.  
At each location they hung the flag of that country in the trees outside so the kids could find it easily.

Since my house was the start and finish, I hung a huge American flag above my front door.  
I also ordered globe balloons from Amazon to put out in the front of my house.  
I should have taken pictures of the front but unfortunately, I forgot to.

These are the ones I chose:

1. Become a spy and change your identity. Dress up and have the handler take your picture.  I found a package of mustaches at Party City that were stick on.  They were a must for this challenge.  The boys ended up wearing theirs for the rest of the night.

2. You must put 7 marshmallows in your mouth and say "Chubby Bunny." 
Then eat 7 saltines and whistle 3 notes. 
I only got video from this location, and I know some of the kids would be embarrassed if I posted the video.  
Just use your imagination.  It's really funny!

3. We live by a lake that is surrounded by trees and ducks that swim in the pond.  
So for this challenge they had to each climb a tree, feed the ducks, and count the benches that surround the lake.  It's not that big of a lake so it was relatively easy. 
The pic is my monkey boy in the tree. 
That kid can climb anything, anywhere!

4. The Italy challenge was that they were out of money and needed to get $2.00 in change. 
The problem was that it was mixed in with a large bowl of cold spagetti.  
They had to make the change as a team, while blindfolded.  
One of my personal favorites!

5. One challenge was at a nearby park.
The kids had to slide down the slide, hang upsidedown on the jungle jim, then do underdog on the the swings.  This one was also a pit stop where I gave them water and a mini candy bar.

6. For this challenge there was two tasks.  
One was to separate the M&M's by color and fill in the numbers on the poster board to write 1997, which is my son's birth year.  Then they had to go through a large bowl of pennies and find 3 pennies that were from 1997.

7. For this one they had to unscramble some letters to send a message to my boy.
I totally messed up in cutting the letters and forgot to make a D for Birthday.
Thankfully the kids were smart and improvised for me.

8. The last one was to shoot 3 free throws and throw a football through a hula hoop.  
Pretty easy and basic, but fun at the same time.

I also gave them challenges to do along the way.  
Each one had extra points attached to it.  
One of them was to take a picture of a garden gnome.  Only one team found one.  
The others were to take pictures of license plates other than ones from AZ, take a picture of an animal other than a dog, and take a picture with a random dog walker.  

Each team had a person with a camera phone with them and they texted the pictures to me as they took them.

Now for the details.
I made envelopes that contained the information for each challenge.  It was pretty easy.  I just made the image in photoshop, printed it out on colored paper and folded it into an envelope.

If you use my templates, you will need to cut about an inch off each side of the 8 1/2 by 11 size paper.

Fold in thirds. Then cut about 1/4 inch up on each fold line on the bottom.
Fold this flap up.

Trim the side pieces off like shown. Then get a glue stick and glue the bottom and top flap down.

I notched the top of each envelope so it was easy to pull the challenge card out.

I printed 3 challege cards and envelopes for each challenge so each team got their own.  I gave them to each of my friends with their supplies for their challenge to give the kids when they came.

Each team got a manilla envelope with their team color on it.  Inside was the race map and location clue cards along with the bonus challenge card.

Now for all the free printables I promised.  Each one is a .jpeg that fits an 8 1/2 by 11 size paper.

These are the challenge cards.  I printed these on cardstock.  Since I had 3 teams, there are 3 cards per challenge.

Next are the challenge envelopes.  Print these on 8 1/2 by 11 colored paper and trim like shown above.

Next are the destination clues.  They were made to help the kids get to each country flag at each location.  I gave you a blank one if you would like to make your own.

Finally, the bonus challenges.

I almost forgot.  The invitations.  The first one I printed on yellow paper then used it to make the envelope for the invitations.

This is the stripped down version I used.

And this is the generic version you can use.  Just add your own information to it.

I hope you like what you've seen today and maybe someday do a party like this.  
I'd love to hear about it if you do!
Have an amazing day!


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  2. My wife also ran a party like this. The kids enjoyed it so much that we developed a "The Fantastic Race" app for the iPad, iPhone, iPod and Android phones and tablets. It is a configurable (if you want to) party organiser. If takes you through the setup, gives you a timetable and checklist of what to get. And most importantly runs the party for you.

    1. I'd love to use your app but I can't find it in Apple's App Store. Could you send me a direct link to it? Email:

  3. What a great idea we love amazing race thinking of doing this party hope my neighbors are as willing as yours to help out :)

  4. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, ideas and ALL the work! My son's 15th is in August and I think we may just be having to indulge in The Amazing Race. :)

  5. How do I get the downloads? Want to use for a Halloween Party

    1. Just click on the image and then right click to "Save As" to a file on your computer. Let me know if there are any more questions.
      Have a fabulous party!

  6. Hi - this looks great! How long did it take them to do the race? Or how long was the party?

  7. Hi Shelley - what a GREAT idea and party!! I know it is asking a lot, but is there any chance you'd consider e-mailing the challenges and destinations to me so I can modify the cards? My daughter's bday is coming up in Feb. and she wants to do this party!

  8. I love this!!!!! I also would love to have these as emailed if you're willing, so much better than anything I've found so far!

  9. entertainment is the part of life. if you want to enjoy your life. you need must enjoy it. we are provide you to chat in online, join with dance club, music, Hollywood Disco, TV how, bar and grill.
    Party ideas

  10. Hi Shelley, Your party looked absolutely awesome! My daughter is turning 12 and has been begging for an amazing race party and your generous sharing has actually made it look do able! Is there anyway you would be able to email me the challenges and destinations so that I would be able to modify the cards.I am unable to do it in the downloadable format. We live in South Africa so not all of your detail would work for us. Her party is in a week and a half. My email is

  11. Hi. Your party looks great! I have been looking for a party idea for my daughter. She loves the show and I know her friends would love this party also. I was also wondering, if you still have them, if you could send me the challenges and destinations? My email is I need to adapt it to an indoor party. Thanks!

  12. Hello, I love your idea!!! Would it be possible to send me the invite to My daughter is having her 11th birthday party and this would be great!

  13. Hello, I love your idea!!! Would it be possible to send me the invite to My daughter is having her 11th birthday party and this would be great!

  14. finishing touches. All the little details that make the party great. I'm really not trying to brag or anything, Ideas for Kids Party

  15. Hi. Your page has been so helpful to me in planning my daughter's 13th birthday party. If you still have your documents, would you mind emailing them to me so I can modify? My email address is Thanks so much!!

  16. We are planning my daughter's 13th birthday party in a few weeks. We will be modifying the challenges to be here at home as I don't feel comfortable with them being out and about. Plus I want to see all the fun!

    If you still have the files, please send them to:

  17. Thank-you for doing all this hard work!!! Your party sounds like it was a hit! I would love to try this at a Christmas party. I would as well love the documents/files would you please send them to Thank-you!!!

  18. This is absolutely a stunning birthday party! Everything has been arranged so perfectly for this party. I would love to try out this party idea. At the best Seattle venues I had tasted similar birthday party food. It was really yummy!

  19. Thank you thank you thank you!!! for truly FREE printables!! Will be copying your envelopes - looks great!!

  20. Good afternoon, Would you mind sharing your printables with me? Brian

    1. You can just click on each image and hit "Save As" to save and print each file. Let me know if you have any problems downloading them. Thanks so much!!


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