Great 11 Year Old Party Idea: 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!

Fantastic ideas for hosting an Amazing Race birthday party at home! This post includes free printable amazing race party invitations, amazing race game clues, and amazing race thank you notes!

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:

Fantastic ideas for hosting an Amazing Race birthday party at home! This post includes free printable amazing race party invitations, amazing race game clues, and amazing race thank you notes!

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.

Fantastic ideas for hosting an Amazing Race birthday party at home! This post includes free printable amazing race party invitations, amazing race game clues, and amazing race thank you notes!

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).

Fantastic ideas for hosting an Amazing Race birthday party at home! This post includes free printable amazing race party invitations, amazing race game clues, and amazing race thank you notes!

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

Fantastic ideas for hosting an Amazing Race birthday party at home! This post includes free printable amazing race party invitations, amazing race game clues, and amazing race thank you notes!

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

Fantastic ideas for hosting an Amazing Race birthday party at home! This post includes free printable amazing race party invitations, amazing race game clues, and amazing race thank you notes!

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:

Fantastic ideas for hosting an Amazing Race birthday party at home! This post includes free printable amazing race party invitations, amazing race game clues, and amazing race thank you notes!

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

Fantastic ideas for hosting an Amazing Race birthday party at home! This post includes free printable amazing race party invitations, amazing race game clues, and amazing race thank you notes!

Hand the builder with a box of materials to build the marshmallow launcher (please check out this fab post from Grandma’s Brief’s 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:

Fantastic ideas for hosting an Amazing Race birthday party at home! This post includes free printable amazing race party invitations, amazing race game clues, and amazing race thank you notes!

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:

Fantastic ideas for hosting an Amazing Race birthday party at home! This post includes free printable amazing race party invitations, amazing race game clues, and amazing race thank you notes!

Fantastic ideas for hosting an Amazing Race birthday party at home! This post includes free printable amazing race party invitations, amazing race game clues, and amazing race thank you notes!

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:

Fantastic ideas for hosting an Amazing Race birthday party at home! This post includes free printable amazing race party invitations, amazing race game clues, and amazing race thank you notes!

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

Fantastic ideas for hosting an Amazing Race birthday party at home! This post includes free printable amazing race party invitations, amazing race game clues, and amazing race thank you notes!

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!)

Fantastic ideas for hosting an Amazing Race birthday party at home! This post includes free printable amazing race party invitations, amazing race game clues, and amazing race thank you notes!

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!

Fantastic ideas for hosting an Amazing Race birthday party at home! This post includes free printable amazing race party invitations, amazing race game clues, and amazing race thank you notes!

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:

Fantastic ideas for hosting an Amazing Race birthday party at home! This post includes free printable amazing race party invitations, amazing race game clues, and amazing race thank you notes!

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

At Home Birthday Parties YOU Can DO!

Comments

  1. Amy says

    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 says

    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 says

    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. Allison says

    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 :-)

  5. mara says

    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!

  6. melissa says

    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!

  7. Mary says

    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!

    • says

      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!

  8. Jennifer Brunetti says

    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?

    Thanks!

    • says

      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.

  9. says

    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!

    • says

      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!

  10. Kelly says

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

  11. Sam says

    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.

  12. BigMamaD says

    looking fowrard to my son’s Amazing Race Party next week – thanks so much for sharing this! Two quick questions: the link for the marshmallow shooter is not working for me and i found a couple options. curious which one you used? 2. any suggestions for shoeboxes – i find myself short on those.thanks! D

  13. DanaSue says

    looking fowrard to my son’s Amazing Race Party next week – thanks so much for sharing this! Two quick questions: the link for the marshmallow shooter is not working for me and i found a couple options. curious which one you used? 2. any suggestions for shoeboxes – i find myself short on those.thanks!

    • says

      Okay- I updated the link to a new post on the marshmallow shooter- so click on that and you’ll find the one that we used. Short on shoeboxes? Hmm… maybe go to the post office and pick up a stack of their free mailing boxes- I think the medium sized ones might work and still be “strap-able” to a child’s waist. You’ll have to test it!

      • DanaSue says

        thank you Sharon. You really are amazing and inspiring. I’m getting into serious party planning mode for Saturday and wondering about a couple things. For the water balloons, did you precut cups and balloons or give the kids scissors (I”m sure either would work just wondering on timing on safety). Also, how did you tie on boxes for Junk in the Trunk/ I’m thinking of either duct tape or using a strip of fabric. Also, fyi on boxes, I did find some fed ex boxes, but at this point I am planning to use emptied-out kleenex boxes and taping up the openings to make them smaller. I’ll keep you posted. and thanks!

        • says

          Hi!
          My kids were 11 when they had this party- so I let them go ahead and cut the cups themselves (if they were pre-cut it would make this task go by too quickly!). We used a staple gun to staple fabric strips to the boxes for Junk in the Trunk. And kleenex boxes are a great idea! (Why didn’t I think of that?)

  14. says

    Love this party idea! Hoping to do this for my 10 year old! Can you help me clarify for the teams… If one finds the coin with the birth year at the base of the tree…what do the other teams do? Out of luck?.
    Thank you.

    • says

      No- they have to keep going until they find the coin- just like on the TV show- you have to complete the task! So make sure you have plenty of coins with the guests birth year on hand!

  15. Darlene says

    Sharon, Thank you so much for posting this for us mom’s who strive to be clever and crafty, but just are not. lol
    I’m having a party for my 10yo and this saves me so much headache. I have many more route cards than detour/roadblocks. Do you by chance have a template of three only “route info” or single (so I don’t have to waste paper when I print). Ps thanks for the tip on Pic monkey, loving it!!

    • says

      I am sorry- I didn’t build them separately. But if you bring the file into PicMonkey, you can crop it, so that you only have Route Info cards and just print that…. I hope you have a great party!

  16. Cindy says

    Hi Sharon,
    I love all your ideas and am planning on hosting an Amazing race party for my son’s 8th birthday. Is there a way I can print off the ideas you have here? I’m not at all handy with the computer like you must be! I’ve pinned all the things I liked to my pinterest board, but am unable to find a way to click on anything to print. Is that an option??

    Please let me know!
    Cindy

  17. DanaSue says

    just wanted to say thanks! for sharing, for posting, for creating. we had a great time at my son’s Amazing Race party and appreciate your great plans and your taking the time to answer silly questions.

  18. malia says

    I couldn’t figure out how to get the free printables? Maybe I am overlooking the obvious but need some help. We have a family reunion in a week and really would love to get this together. Mahalo, Malia

  19. Anonymous says

    I can’t thank you enough for this site! I came across this idea 3 hrs before my son’s party was due to start …. and still managed to deliver it ….to cries of “best party ever!!!” no less. Thankyou, thankyou, thankyou!!

  20. says

    Hi,

    I am interested in doing this party for my daughter that is turning 10. I just want to now a few things… I was looking at the cards and it says boy on it and stuff so i wanted to know the fount that you used to make the cards so I can copy it down and make it say girl but still use the same fount so the cards that don’t say boy on them i can still use and it will all match!’
    Thanks,
    Skylar
    Skylar recently posted..Easy Summer Cocktail Meatballs

  21. grace says

    Hi Sharon,

    Thanks for the great ideas! I love the amazing Race show and I am throwing my 10 year old boy a birthday party next week. Used your invite and thanks for the great tips on using picmonkey! It worked out great! Can I use picmonkey to make my own detour/roadbloack/pitstop cards too?

    • says

      Absolutely! PicMonkey is a totally awesome photo and text creating/editing application on the web. I use it for so many things! Including scrapbooking!

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