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Hosting an Amazing Race party; great for tweens!

How to host an Amazing Race party for tweens

I love planning parties. Actually, I love planning experiences, but a party gives me an excuse to play in that space.

The beautiful thing about the parties I plan is they don’t break the bank. Hiring a jumping castle is not needed, nor is buying a bunch of branded Disney/Marvel gear. You just need some enthusiasm, a lot of imagination and Cheezels. It’s not a party without Cheezles.

The pre-teen space can be quite daunting for party planning. They are too old for the fairy theme, but way too young to be hitting up the clubs (do young people do that anymore? I have no idea and I feel old even typing out that sentence!)

At this age working out friendships dominates your pre-teen’s life, so all of my party ideas lean into that and also borrow lots of team-building strategies I’ve learned in my career which will help your pre-teen and their friends develop good, healthy communication skills while also having fun.

Being active and having something to do is also really important to keep in mind for this age group. My daughter has attended a few parties in which food was provided, but no activities planned (I get it, too old for pass the parcel!) and they ended up being quite stressful with the girls forming little groups and gossiping about others. At this age, many kids may feel too self-conscious to plan a game on their own, and the risk of losing face among their peers is too high.

Enough of this chitter-chatter though, let me show you one of the successful pre-teen/tween parties I have run!

DIY Amazing Race party

Canva invite template links - Editable (Free!)

Front image

Back image

Age recommendation - Great for pre-teen/tweens this party allows the kids to have some seemingly unsupervised time, gives them a chance to solve problems together, lets off steam by running around and keeps them moving and occupied until it's time for food.

Recommend activity time - no more than 2 hours, make sure to walk out the hunt yourself so you have a good indication of how long it will take the kids (the kids may run between stations, so take that into account)

Adults needed - at least 2 but as many as you can rope in if possible. You will need one at the end stage to set up the food, and 1 doing drive-by supervision and being at each station. If you only have 2 adults, you can leap frog the roaming kids to set up the stations and man as they go. Planning who will do which station is needed!

Set up -

Local businesses

I highly recommend using businesses in your neighbourhood as pit stops for your party - you’d be amazed how willing and excited business owners can be to help you out, plus it is great practise for your preteens to learn how to interact with business owners/service providers. Another tip about businesses - you don’t need to stick to those who cater just for kids, I’ve used the local bank branch before and the tellers were really excited to be involved.

Businesses that are likely to be happy to be involved:

  • Libraries

  • Visitor information centres

  • Real estates

  • Banks (especially Community banks)

  • Small gift shops (ones that are run by the owners)

  • Butchers

Don’t choose businesses that are likely to have a rush hour during the time of the party and ensure you get the agreement of the person who will be working there on the day.

Set out your route and walk it out

Set out 5 or so places for the kids to visit and collect clues and get the agreement of any businesses before writing your first clue. Of course, you can stick to a giant park, you just need to have recognisable landmarks/features the kids can find.

Know where you are going - list of places kids will visit during Amazing Race party for tweens

Once you have an idea of what stops you are going to use walk it out. This is super important. Walk at a normal pace and time out the route. The kids will likely walk faster than you, or even run but what you are doing is timing it based on the kids walking slowly (unlikely) but you are also looking for any haz

ards kids may encounter. The kids may be excited and may be trying to rush to the next clue, oblivious to what is around them. I’d avoid really busy roads.

Crafting clues

You have your route, you have your 5 stops. Now it’s time to craft your clues.

You don’t need to be too fancy with this. You want the kids to work it out without adult assistance. I’ve tried the whole rhyming clue thing and if you can pull it off, awesome, but I found that too hard for my brain!

Canva basic Amazing Race clue card (editable) Free


Like in the Amazing Race, you can have Roadblocks, which are tasks the kids need to complete before getting their next clue. Google ‘Minute to win it’ games for a whole heap of ideas for roadblocks and choose a few that will suit the personality of your group.

Dress ups

Some clues can be as simple as ‘Find the fairy at the playground’, then having a younger sibling wait on the swings dressed up as a fairy who holds the next clue. I recommend out-there dressups as asking the kids to ‘find the man with the sunglasses, he has your next clue’ is certainly not a great thing for kids to be doing.

Preparing the kids

You need to gather the kids before the party and set out some ground rules. Things like ‘there is no need to cross a road’, or ‘there is no need to cross (name of particularly busy road)’, ‘be polite to anyone you need to speak to’, ‘keep all clues with you’ etc


In my opinion, this party is most successful with kids aged 10 and over when they are given the illusion of no adult supervision. Of course you will be supervising. I recommend that you drive by to check where they are, or you have relatives placed in different areas to check in on them. You will know exactly where the kids should be at each stage because you created the clues and walked it out. If you see them going off into the completely wrong direction then you intervene directly.

Use your phone to alert the adult/helper holding the next clue that the kids are on their way, and get them to text you when the kids leave the stop.

Also ensuring that the person giving the clue knows where the kids should be going to next is helpful too, they can make sure the kids have deciphered the clue before they leave.

Clue ideas

Roadblock card for an Amazing Race party for tweens

Libraries are awesome in general, and I’ve always found that Librarians are the most helpful people around. Our librarian was happy to hold onto a clue for the kids and was so pleased to be involved.

For this clue, I went in and found books that I knew were very unlikely to be borrowed out on the day. The words put together spelled out the name of a well-known gift store down the street.

Route cards for an Amazing Race party, with the dog as the clue

Here we roped in our dog to 'guard' the next clue as the 'vicious Keeper of the Clue'. Of course, I was hidden very nearby and pup was happy to play with a stick until the group reached him.

Dress up ideas for an Amazing Race party

Anyone (except business owners) the group needs to meet should be dressed pretty out there so that the kids are not approaching genuine strangers. These older siblings were more than happy to play 'Evil Fortune Tellers' and were very enthusiastic in supervising a minute-to-win-it roadblock activity.

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