Great 11 Year Old Party Idea: The Amazing Race Birthday Party!


The Amazing Race Birthday Party

I LOVE throwing fun, yet easy at-home birthday parties for my kids! Over the years I have done a ton of these- but the one I’ve done more than any other is our “Minute To Win It” themed birthday party. It has fun games, it keeps active kids engaged, and it is so simple to put together. But this year, I thought I would create a party around another favorite TV show in our house… “The Amazing Race”! We watch it together as a family on Sunday evenings, and I knew it would make a perfect theme for a birthday party!

If you look online, you’ll see lots of ideas for holding an Amazing Race party that involves teams paired up with Mom & Dad drivers, conducting the race throughout their hometown. But these parties take some more significant set-up time… you have to work with local shopkeepers to help with game participation, plus it means securing help in the way of team leaders/drivers. The other downside is that your birthday party guests are spread out all over the place- playing the game as they race around the town… so you are missing the change to enjoy each other’s company! So I wanted to create an Amazing Race “at-home” party that you can do in your own backyard. (Or- if you want more space, you can hold it at a local park… but it will still be all in one place, no driving around needed!)

The Amazing Race Birthday Party Invitation:

Amazing Race Birthday Party Invite filled in 500x750 Great 11 Year Old Party Idea: The Amazing Race Birthday Party!

I created these cool party invites which can be printed and mailed or sent out as an email attachment, and I asked the guests to please come wearing sneakers (I don’t want risk game-time injuries due to kids playing in flip-flops!)

I created a blank version of the invite which you are welcome to download and print for your own personal use.

Amazing Race Birthday Party Invite Blank 500x750 Great 11 Year Old Party Idea: The Amazing Race Birthday Party!

You can either fill in the party information by hand, or upload the image to PicMonkey to add text. (Check out my tutorial on how to use PicMonkey to create birthday party invitations!)

The Amazing Race Birthday Party Order of Events!

When kids arrive, you can draw names in pairs from a hat to make up teams. Hand each team a pair of tee shirts in a different color (blue team, red team, green team, etc). And then ask the players to remove their sneakers and put them into a bin (so that one of the adults can scatter the sneakers throughout the front yeard for the first game!) Lead the kids over to your starting area to kick-off the Amazing Race. (On the show, there is a mat that players stand on to begin and end legs of the race. You can use the mat from your front door, or a piece of posterboard painted yellow and black with the Amazing Race logo!)

Mom, Dad, or an older sibling can serve as the announcer, welcoming the teams and explaining the rules of the game:

“We’d like to welcome our teams to this leg of the Amazing Race, celebrating Jack’s 11th Birthday Party. Let’s meet our teams…. The Blue Team is made up of Jack and Alex- long lost cousins who now attend college at the University of Soccer” (continue introducing the teams, giving them humorous relationships “cross-country truck drivers”, or “Country-Western banjo players”- just like they do on the TV show.)

“Teams will race to find the clues that will give them the instructions for that part of the race. Clues can either be: “Route Info” where teams will need to follow the instructions on the card to receive the next clue, “Detours” where teams are given a choice of two activities to complete together to receive the next clue, or “Road Blocks” where only one team member must complete the task in order to move ahead. Are you ready for your first clue?”

Then hand each team an envelope with this logo on it. (You can pick up a stack of tear-open sealable envelopes for free from the post office (of course, they aren’t exactly meant for this purpose…) and then print the Amazing Race logo below and glue it onto the outside of the envelope).

Amazing Race Envelope Lables 500x400 Great 11 Year Old Party Idea: The Amazing Race Birthday Party!

Inside the envelope, teams will receive their first “Route Info” card…

Route Info Shoe Scramble Great 11 Year Old Party Idea: The Amazing Race Birthday Party!

As teams complete this task, and return to the mat- you can hand them their next clue:

Card 1 Route Info Great 11 Year Old Party Idea: The Amazing Race Birthday Party!

You can make this as difficult as you’d like… making the ribbons on the trees themselves tiny and hard to find or scattering dozens or even hundreds of coins around the tree- allowing only one coin to have the correct birth year on it, etc. Ideally, you want teams to spend 5-10 minutes in the hunt. When they return to the mat with the correct coin, you hand them another Amazing Race tear-off envelope with two cards inside, this one on top:

Amazing Race Road Block Question Great 11 Year Old Party Idea: The Amazing Race Birthday Party!

Ooooo… a road block! Only one team member can perform this task…. they must choose which person continues before reading the second card:

Amazing Race Road Block Marshmallow Launcher Great 11 Year Old Party Idea: The Amazing Race Birthday Party!

Hand the builder with a box of materials to build the marshmallow launcher (please check out this fab post from Spoonful to see how the launcher is constructed. Before the party, you will need to build one example launcher that the kids can look at as a model, but they will not receive instructions for building their own launcher. They must look at the example and construct their own as best they can.

When they come back to you “for inspection”, try launching a marshmallow to make sure that it works, before giving them their next clue:

Amazing Race Route Info Marshmallow Into Bucket Great 11 Year Old Party Idea: The Amazing Race Birthday Party!

Have a stack of plastic beach buckets ready as well as a bag or two of marshmallows and let the kids launch the marshmallows into the bucket! The player with the bucket on their head can move around, but the bucket must be touching the top of his/her head. Once they get three in, hand them their next clue:

Amazing Race Detour Hackeysack Juggle Great 11 Year Old Party Idea: The Amazing Race Birthday Party!

Amazing Race Detour Nature Scavenger Hunt Great 11 Year Old Party Idea: The Amazing Race Birthday Party!

Cool- a detour! Teams can decide which of the two activities they would like to do… either the hackeysack juggle or the scavenger hunt! You can use a knit beanbag-ball type of hackeysack, or a traditional Chinese version that looks like this:

amazing race party hackeysack Great 11 Year Old Party Idea: The Amazing Race Birthday Party!

When they have completed the detour, you can hand them their final clue:

Amazing Race Route Info Junk in the Trunk Great 11 Year Old Party Idea: The Amazing Race Birthday Party!

Take a shoebox and cut a round hole in the lid, just big enough to allow a ping box to shake out if you are shaking the box. Now attach a long piece of fabric to each side that will allow you to tie the box around your waist like a belt. Fill the box with ping pong balls, marking only one with an ‘X’ in each box. (Note: you’ll need a separate box for each player at the party, but you can re-use this game for other parties over the years, I promise!)

amazing race party junk in the trunk box Great 11 Year Old Party Idea: The Amazing Race Birthday Party!

Not Into These Games? Change it Up!

You can customize your Amazing Race game to include whatever wacky crazy party activities you’d like! Here are blank route info, detour, and road block cards that you can print and use to construct your own version of the game!

Amazing Race Game Cards 500x424 Great 11 Year Old Party Idea: The Amazing Race Birthday Party!

Amazing Race Birthday Party Cake:

A simple sheet cake, iced in yellow with the Amazing Race logo would be perfect. You can use black, yellow, and white fondant and icing to create the logo, or if you’d like an easier way out… take the logo to a bakery and have them create the cake for you!

Amazing Race Birthday Party Thank You Notes:

Kids will go home with their tee shirts, their chocolate bar prizes, as well as their newly made marshmallow shooters! After the party, the birthday child can use these thank you notes:

Amazing Race Thank You Note 500x750 Great 11 Year Old Party Idea: The Amazing Race Birthday Party!

If you liked this party idea, you might also enjoy these other at-home birthday parties we’ve thrown for our kids:

At Home Birthday Parties 350 Great 11 Year Old Party Idea: The Amazing Race Birthday Party!

At Home Birthday Parties YOU Can DO!

Sharons Signture Great 11 Year Old Party Idea: The Amazing Race Birthday Party!

{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Amy March 14, 2014 at 9:32 am

My dream is to be on the Amazing Race and that party idea is awesome. You are amazing yourself with all your cool ideas!


2 darlene April 17, 2014 at 9:35 pm

Thnx so very much for these great ideas…haven’t watched the amazing race.much….but my 11yr old is excited about this theme…im winging it with the help of your ideas…wish me luck…party this Tuesday…mom of 3…thnx so much…hoppy easter. from Saskatoon, sk…canada…


3 Linda Niemand May 26, 2014 at 6:44 am

Thanks so much for the stunning idea of the amazing race party I am about to have my house invaded by teenage boys so this will keep them busy for a while before getting up to mischieve! Iam deffinately going to combine the minute to win it theme aswell on the night before!


4 Sharon
Twitter: sharonmomof6
May 27, 2014 at 11:28 am

Yay Linda! So glad you found this to be helpful! I hope you have a great party!


5 Allison June 3, 2014 at 11:21 am

I am planning a party for my 11 year old daughter. I love some of your ideas. I am sending them around the neighborhood to friends’ houses (several of which are international students here) to do activities from different countries but I will use some of your ideas to help the flow. I am wondering if it is possible to get an editable copy of your cards and invitation. I have been busy and just realized how unprepared I am for a party next week! eek! thanks in advance :-)


6 mara July 15, 2014 at 6:02 pm

awesome ideas! my daughter asked for an amazing race themed party and i thought, oh dear, but you have taken care of a lot of the hard work!


7 Sharon
Twitter: sharonmomof6
July 16, 2014 at 8:38 pm

So glad to hear it! I hope you all have a great party!


8 melissa August 17, 2014 at 10:54 am

I am in the planning stages of my daughter’s amazing race birthday party & found your site. Thank you so much!! I just personalized the invite using PicMonkey (something I’ve never used before) and it was so easy! I’m so excited to use your templates for the clues. Thanks again!


9 Sharon
Twitter: sharonmomof6
August 18, 2014 at 7:01 am

So glad to hear that you were able to use my tutorial to personalize your Amazing Race invites! I hope that you have a great party!


10 Mary September 3, 2014 at 5:59 pm

How thrilled I was to come across this blog post, as I have been planning an Amazing Race birthday party for the past month or so. Two questions, if you wouldn’t mind addressing:

1. Where did you get your t-shirts? I have been looking at Custom Ink to make the team shirts, but it wouldn’t be cheap.

2. I would love to use your invitation, but I can’t fit my info into the spaces provided for date, time, etc… in PicMonkey. Do you know if there is a way to overlay a text box on this part so that the pre-prints don’t show?

Again, many thanks. I am really inspired by this post and look forward to reading around on your site some more!


11 Sharon
Twitter: sharonmomof6
September 4, 2014 at 6:28 am

I didn’t print anything on the tees- they were just blank solid colored tees- which you can buy at Michaels fairly inexpensively (or Target/Walmart). And you can definitely overlay a shape on the written part of the invite- in PicMonkey, select overlays, Geometric and then just place a white box over the pre-printed info. You can then just add text where you need it. I hope that you have a great party!


12 Mary September 4, 2014 at 9:47 am

Thanks so much for responding! The overlay worked perfectly and now I have my custom invite!


13 Roisin September 17, 2014 at 6:24 pm

Thank you so much for sharing your party detail by detail and sharing your creations too.

Many blessings – R


14 Jennifer Brunetti October 4, 2014 at 9:53 am

I teach 5th grade and we do The Amazing Race for US Regions and somehow I can’t find the template I used in the past for the Detour, Route Info and Road Block. Would you be willing to share an editable template?



15 Sharon
Twitter: sharonmomof6
October 6, 2014 at 11:00 am

I have a daughter in 5th grade right now, and I am always happy to help out any teacher! All of my printables are free and available for you to download. The blank template is listed right there at the bottom of the post, simply click on it to open and then feel free to save it to your desktop to either edit it (I use Picmonkey) or print it.


16 Jennifer Brunetti October 11, 2014 at 9:01 am

Thank you so much!


17 Chantal October 15, 2014 at 7:10 pm

You are amazing! I am planning a teen version of this for my two daughters. I will enlist staff at the mall. Your printable versions are a God-send!
Thank you so much!

One question…Are you in Canada by any chance? I don’t think Canada Post has free envelopes, unfortunately, but let me know if they do!


18 Sharon
Twitter: sharonmomof6
October 17, 2014 at 12:58 pm

I’m not- I’m US based so I don’t know if Canada Post has the free envelopes or not. I love the idea of you doing this party adventure at the mall! I can’t wait to hear how it turns out!


19 Kelly October 16, 2014 at 1:09 pm

thank you so much! you are amazing. i’m so excite to use all your ideas for my daughter’s 12th birthday party!


20 Sharon
Twitter: sharonmomof6
October 17, 2014 at 12:57 pm

I hope she loves it as much as my kids did! Have a great party!


21 Chantal October 27, 2014 at 1:52 pm

You are an AMAZING lady! I will be doing this for a combined party for my 13 and 15 yr old daughters. The templates were super-helpful!


22 Sam November 20, 2014 at 4:29 am

I loved your ideas for The Amazing Race party and I want to use your Invitation template by editing it in PicMonkey. However the Date, Time RSVP is pre-printed at an angle, so when I use add text option, it allows me to print only straight. Is there a way out ? Also there is no plain white in the overlay options.


23 Sharon
Twitter: sharonmomof6
November 20, 2014 at 10:32 am

Hi Sam! You can tilt a text bar in PicMonkey by grabbing it by the circle at the top and then use your mouse to turn it to match the angle you want. Also- the color code for white is ffffff (6 f’s)- just change the color # in the upper right corner.


24 Sam November 21, 2014 at 6:16 am

Thanks so much Sharon…the invitation is ready and its looking fab….will keeping following your blog for the useful tips.


25 Sharon
Twitter: sharonmomof6
November 21, 2014 at 7:26 am

Yay! Thanks for letting me know Sam!


26 Anonymous December 2, 2014 at 11:14 pm



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