Themes

Theme of the Week – Amazing Race

Theme of the Week is a post where we ask readers like you to comment with ideas for a particular theme. What ideas and suggestions do you have? What game, craft, apparel choice, theme meal, evening activity, special event, song, skit, or anything else would you do at camp if your theme was…

Amazing Race

Below are my five suggestions. What’s yours?

  1. Set-up 10 challenges from different countries and have teams compete in all of them. Teams travel from “country to country” participating in different challenges. The team that finishes first wins. Make sure they have their passports with them.
  2. If you’re doing an amazing race make sure you add in detours (teams have to choose between two tasks) and road blocks (only one person from each team performs the task).
  3. Any craft project representing another country would be appropriate.
  4. Video as much as possible and, after editing it, show it to the camp at the end of the week.
  5. If you have international, staff have them either run the challenges that are “in their country”, or have them be the ambassadors of that country, welcoming the teams.

Want step-by-step instructions? Check out this ebook.

23 Comments

  • We just did this theme. We visited Mexico where the children had to get a certain number of “jumping beans” [we used regular beans] into a sombrero. The second challenge was to match Spanish phrases with the corresponding English ones. In Africa, the challenge was a match the Big 5 animals with their tracks worksheet. The second Africa challenge involved beading a necklace following a specific pattern. In Hawaii we learned a Hula dance and tried ‘surfing’ on scooters [we have no access to water]The Carribean brought the challenges of limbo dancing and drumming. The country of Japan is where we learned about Ikebana – Japanese Flower arranging. We put out a pattern of paper flowers, let them memorize it for one minute and then as a team they had to recreate it. The also had to learn to use chopsticks to move rice from one bowl to another.
    That’s what we did and the children really enjoyed it.

  • I just found your website. My wife & I have done a local amazing clue hunt two times for our sons’ 14th birthday. It started with the teacher sending them to the office after school where they recieved their first clue that led them out to the parking lot where we had a limosine waiting. In the limo was their next clue and a set of rules. Part of the rules is that they had wear any wearable items & get group photos at each stop & they could not ask the driver or a relative for help with clues or photos. They were stopping strangers in the street to ask them for photos. 18 stops in all with local businesses participating happily just by asking. We did not buy stuff from every place yet they were still very happy to participate. Some of the clues were word scrambles, crossword puzzles, rhyming clues that they had to figure out, We even made a dvd for one stop telling them that they were in the wrong place. They had to wear dyed t-shirts, top hats 7 baby floaties among other things. Great times, worked their brains & fun, fun, fun!

  • We did this theme by involving the downtown merchants. Had Three groups of kids and we timed the whole event. I made clues to different merchants and the kids had to guess where and go there.They had to do a small task like sing a silly song to receive an item from that merchant . They worked together as a team. One merchant was an ice cream shop where they had to eat an ice cream as fast as possible for a brain freeze which we timed. There was ten merchants in all.We also took a camera and video to prove they did everything. The merchants even had the next clue to read to the kids so they were involved also. I only took one group out at a time and while we were doing that event I has other events set up at the center for the other two groups to do and also be timed. One event was to go to our infant/toddler room and everyone in the group had to take a bite of baby food (applesauce flavor so as not th gross them out to bad). The teachers helpd out and got a kick out of doing it for us.
    We posted all the events on a huge posterboard and the kids could see how the times we going. At the end of the week we tallied all the scores up and gave out trophies for first,second ,and third and also other prizes. It was a fun week but I didhave to prepare ahead of time with the merchants and make up all the clues which took alitte time but it was worth it. Cheryl

    • Sounds like a lot of fun, Cheryl. It is a ton of work to prep good Amazing Race program but any director I have spoken with that has successfully attempted it always says it’s one of the best programs they have every done.

  • Last year for our summer camp program, we did a small amazing race day. Since we are in a school, we really couldn`t do that much. All of the `stops`were detours I guess, they had to pick one or the other (one was sensory, other was not so they could pick if they didn`t like sticking their hands in dirt) and the `stops`was me hiding somewhere in the school and they had to come and find me. The kids had a blast, big time. It was age appropriate as we set up two teams of 4, of all ages so one person could always help read out the clues and whatnot. I will definitely try to do a more elaborate Amazing Race this summer!!

    Thanks for all the great ideas on the website! I plan on using a lot of them this summer. 🙂

    • Kristina,

      I really like the idea of having each stop a “detour”. As a fan of the show I always cringe when a team gets to a stop and they only have one challenge but it takes forever to complete. During the detours on the show, many of the teams will switch to the other challenge to find that one that suits them better. That’s how I would like it if I were racing – give me choices. 🙂 Thanks for sharing.

  • So I just used this idea for an Independence Family day and tweaked it using some cultural and local clues, detors and roadblocks. It was a blast.

    • Zo, good for you. Running an amazing race is not easy to do. I’ve seen Amazing Races done at camp that have totally failed. It’s nice to hear when they are a success.

  • I am considering using this theme for our annual kids summer camp. It is a 3 day camp for kids ages 7-12. They are split into teams of about 8-10 kids per team. I am new to the show and have only seen a couple of episodes. We always do team competitions that last the whole week. Last year we did Survivor as our theme because the guy that won, Mike Holloway, attended our church for a very long time before leaving to help my brother start his church. Anyway, I am wondering if the Amazing Race theme could be done where we do a different “country” each day and the kids could have to decide after reading the clue which of their teammates will do the challenge??? Please give me any hints or tips that you can! I do not want to be one of the camps that you talked about that tried to use this theme and failed! Our church is an inner-city church and this camp is a Huge escape for many of our kids, so we strive to make it the very best that we can! Thank you in advance for your help!
    God Bless You,
    Jennifer

    • Jennifer, I am coming out with an ebook next month on how to run an Amazing Race theme at camp. So look out for that. “Visiting” a different country each day is perfect.

      Personally, I am not a huge fan of having groups choose one person to represent their team at each challenge. The weight of winning or losing a challenge is all on that one person. While some kids can handle the pressure, others cannot. Instead, what I prefer to do is have each of the kids do the challenge and combine each of their scores for a total team score of that particular challenge. Of course, you can do team challenges like relays as well.

      As for only having watched a couple of episodes, that’s really all it takes to understand the concept of the Amazing Race and how Clues, Detours, U-Turns, etc. work. I wouldn’t copy any of their challenges as they aren’t geared towards kids. Come up with your own (or get my book when it comes out). I hope that helps.

      • Michele, as soon as you paid through PayPal you would have been redirected to a page that shows the title of the ebook which is a link to download it. Don’t worry, a lot of people just click off this page not thinking twice about it. You also receive two emails, one from PayPal and one from my store. The one from my store also has a link to download it. That email may have gone to your spam, especially since you have hotmail. Hotmail and Yahoo email accounts are notorious for sending things to spam that they shouldn’t. I will email you to get this worked out.

  • I run the high school session of a week long church camp. Last year we did an Amazing Race instead of our usual scavenger hunt. We had teams of 4 to 5 kids. They had to do tasks like make a specific shape out of tangram puzzle pieces, answer 10 US History questions (both of these challenges were surprisingly difficult), assemble a marshmallow shooter after only looking at a sample one and then use it to shoot mini marshmallows into a cup held on a teammate’s head, count how many boards were on the bridge to the dining hall, recreate a series of shapes from memory in a different room, etc. It was pretty amazing, if I do say so myself. A common complaint about our other scavenger hunts was that some team members didn’t want to run and they slowed their team down. Even though this technically was a race, running did not really help a team do better.

    This year I’m thinking of using some of your escape room ideas.

    • Katrina, those are some fantastic tasks. I love the marshmallow shooter one. I have done a similar competition with marshmallow shooters where they have to assemble it before using it, but not as an Amazing Race task. Love it. I hear you about the running thing. There are a couple of ways to get around that. One way is to not allow running. Teams must walk to each area. Penalties are given for running. Another is to have a Hub where each team goes to between challenges. At the Hub teams must pay for “transportation” or food or supplies that will help them in the race. Each task is a short walk from the Hub (20 yards or so). That way, even if a team is running, it’s not very far. The final suggestion is to assign each team a challenge they have to overcome (one teammate has their legs tied together, one teammate is blindfolded, etc.) that ensures they have to slow it down (as long as a rule is that the team must stay together). After every 2 or 3 tasks they come back to the main area and roll dice to see what their next challenge will be (uh oh, looks like all teammates must waddle like a penguin to each task).

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