Special Events

Let’s Make a Deal – A Summer Camp Evening Activity

Let’s Make a Deal was a popular TV game show from the ’60s and ’70s. You can still catch re-runs on the Game Show Network. Campers love this program. If you’re not familiar with the game show you can read more about it at Wikipedia. Basically, the host, Monty Hall, would call up a contestant and offer them the choice between two or three unknown prizes. One prize may be in a box and another one behind a huge door or inside Monty’s pocket.

The contestant would choose and one of the prizes would usually be a good prize while the other was a joke prize or nothing at all. Below, you can watch a clip of the show.

If you think that you may want to run your own Let’s Make a Deal here’s what to do:

  • Gather some prizes. They can be camp bucks for the camp store, previous years t-shirts or sweatshirts, tours of off limits areas of camp (the director’s house or staff lounge for example), a late night kitchen raid for the cabin, choosing 5 songs for the dance, first to go into the dining hall all three meals the next day, prizes from the camp store, exempt form cabin clean-up the next day, etc.
  • Gather some joke prizes. Some examples might include pinecones, cans of peas, a tiny t-shirt, a picture of the counselors making funny faces, a rock with googley eyes, a dog toy, etc. Use your imagination. If you would like you can always have consolation prizes for the campers that choose the wrong prize like some small candies or $.50 in the camp store.
  • Next, put together different sizes and types of containers.
    • Shoe boxes that are decorated
    • Shipping boxes that are decorated
    • A cash box
    • A sombrero to put a prize under
    • A cylinder container
    • Envelopes
    • A large manila envelope
    • You can also use trees instead of doors. “Would you like what’s hidden behind tree number 2?”
  • Write out what boxes and prizes you’ll use for each round (ex. green shoebox with stuffed animal vs. cash box that is empty). This way you’ll know where the prizes are and are not.
  • Before activity time set up 2 tables – 1 table as a working table that will hold the containers until you’re ready to use them and 1 table as the show table where contestants will choose their container. If possible put a fun, colorful table cloth on it. You can also have a lovely assistant bring out each container.
  • Wear funny hats or wigs. The kids always like that (silly camp staff).
  • Have all the students sit down (they’ll be standing with excitement once things get started). Having a clear stage area will help. Counselors should definitely be sitting with their groups.
  • Explain the rules and how it all works.
  • Begin with one staff member calling out for an item (Who can show me a red pen?). Or the MC can go to a camper and ask them question, “You’ll be the next contestant if you can tell me the name of the camp dog.” The first student to come up with a red pen (or answer the question correctly) will get one of the small party prizes. After a few of these are given out a contestant should be chosen in the same manner (Who can show me a Nike shoe?).
  • Once the contestant is chosen have another staff member take over.
  • Find out the camper’s name and have the crowd say “Hello, Jack!”
  • Now give the contestant a chance to win a prize. “Cindy, I have here a green box. Now in this green box there is either a prize for you or nothing at all. Here I have a cash box. The same holds true for this box, either there is a prize for you or nothing at all. Which box would you like?” After Cindy chooses a box I try to buy the box back by offering her a couple of the little 20¢ prizes or camp store bucks. Not too many kids will go for that. If Cindy chooses the empty box, give her one of the small prizes, candies or $.50-$1 camp store credit as a consolation gift.
  • After the contestant is finished have the other staff member go back to asking the crowd for items, or asking questions, and giving out the small prizes.
  • While this is happening get the next containers on the show table.
  • Continue until you are out of prizes or time has run out.

One final thought, in the TV show contestants dressed up in costumes. you might want to announce at dinner time that you’ll be playing Let’s Make a Deal and the campers who are dressed the funniest will be chosen as contestants. After dinner the campers should have time to change. This creates a real buzz of excitement for this fun and memorable evening activity.

You can see more clips of Let’s Make a Deal on YouTube.


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