June 18, 2020

Survivor (part 1)

Our little family started watching Survivor episodes together. We are way back in the early days of the show. But all of our kids (Perry included!) have gotten really into it. As pandemic restrictions were lifting, my cooped up kids and I started reminiscing about the summer in Washington when I had Kyler and Kacin play Survivor in the backyard for a week. They didn't even know what the show was! But they have some fun memories of living off of wild blackberries, sleeping in the tent, and challenges for donuts. We got to talking about, now that they know what the show is, how fun it would be to have another Survivor. I decided I'd much rather spend my time doing something fun for my kids and their friends instead of unpacking boxes and cleaning the house. So I got to work and used all of my creative energy to put together...

Backyard Survivor!   

Eleven hours. Twenty-two people. One Survivor.

Outwit. Outlast. Outplay.

(Thanks to Eric who was so supportive and helpful during Survivor and the few days leading up to it. How fun it was to bounce ideas off of him to put it all together.)

What started as Kyler, Kacin, and a few of their friends grew into 22 teenagers, and turning down many others who wanted to play. We will definitely have to do this again! 

Warning: this will be a looong post with lots of details, just in case we ever do decide to do this again.

All of the teens gathered at our house at 7am with swimsuits, towels, sunblock, and water bottles. We sat in the living room and I explained the rules to them. They could only come into the house to use the bathroom or refill their team's water dispenser with water and ice. They would receive a tub of team supplies for the day--that would include all of their food for the day (unless they earned it in challenges). They would start in two teams, but at some point during the day they would merge into one team. In order to win the title of sole survivor, you had to earn the most points. Points were earned for each individual on a winning team during team challenges and for the top 3 winners of individual challenges. Because Survivor is a social game, too, you can also earn points when other people voted you in as most deserving of the title of sole survivor. After team challenges, each person on the winning team could cast a vote. After individual challenges, each person could cast a vote. All the votes would be tallied at the end to determine the winner. I reminded them to have good sportsmanship, be kind and inclusive, and look out for each other. And the person who wins would walk away today as a Fiftydollaronaire!! $50 and the title of Sole Survivor.

We went into the backyard and each person randomly received a wrapped "buff." (To create the buffs, I cut strips out of material we already had around the house. Nothing fancy.) 

Each person wrote their name on our Survivor poster where we would tally points as the day went on.

Then they unwrapped their buffs one by one and were sorted into two teams--blue or green.

Green team!

Blue team!

 Have you ever watched the show survivor and seen a stark contrast between two teams? Like one team working hard, organized, and productive while the other team goofed off, laid around, and ended up under prepared for the weather and elements? Well Backyard Survivor was no different! It was ctaullay a fascinating social experiment to see what happened in these teams when left to their own. 

Each team was given a tub with a lid, a roll of duct tape, a line of rope, a jar of peanut butter, a loaf of bread, two dry ramen, two cans of spaghettios, and a pile of cardboard boxes.

The green team built a beautiful structure, decorated it, created a thoughtful team name and flag, kept their camp neat and tidy, and played get to know you games together during their free time.

The green team was a mess. That had a half built shelter that fell down. They were hiding people in cardboard boxes, wrestling, blasting music, and lying around in the grass during their free time.

It really was interesting to see the difference in the two teams!

About 10-15 minutes before each challenge, we delivered tree mail. 

Their first tree mail was this:

This challenge was all about teamwork. Each team had to hold onto a rope and move around the backyard to five different stations completing a task at each station. Once they completed the task they received a small ocean animal of a specific color. The first team with all five animals back on the mat won the challenge.

Each station was a different task. I used games and toys that we already had in the house to make the challenges. At this station, they had to find the right picture that matched the clues. (I used the cards from the game "Codenames: Pictures.")

At this station they had to find nine wood pieces and place them correctly on the peg board. I should've taken a picture of the toy we used, but to get an idea it was a lot like this one.

I didn't get pictures of every station because I was so busy monitoring three of the stations. But at the other stations they had to put all the pegs into a lite brite, place connect four circles into a specified pattern (I drew a simple picture), and string and spell the word "Survivor." 

Green team came in for the win! The winners got to place a social vote for who they thought was most deserving of the title of sole survivor and they got to choose a reward. They had a choice between comfort--in the form of a pop shade and camping chairs--or sweet treat--donuts. This smart team chose the comfort.

In between challenges the teams had about twenty minutes to hang out and rest before the next challenge.

The second tree mail of the day was delivered.

I explained the rules. There would be one caller from each team who would stand up on the balcony overlooking the backyard. There would be four puzzlers to solve the puzzle at the end. Everyone else would be blindfolded. The people who were blindfolded would need to collect bags with their team color. They could retrieve one bag at a time. The caller would be their eyes and tell them where to go. Once all the bags were collected, the puzzlers could run the pieces over to the mat. The first team to put their puzzle (dollar store puzzle!) together won.

This was one of the best challenges to watch.

There are the callers way up there.

This time it was blue team (and Perry!) who walked away with the win. They were smart enough to remember that tree mail was actually a clue and showed them what the final puzzle should look like.

Here they are preparing to give themselves a point on the board then cast their first social point. They received the reward of donuts.

In between challenges...

Layla and Macie had a special part in Survivor. They delivered all of the tree mail and then joined whichever team or challenges they wanted to.

For this challenge, it was two vs. two on the float mat. Last person on the mat scored a point for their team. the first team to ten points won. 

This was another FUN challenge. And made me so glad we bought this float mat for christmas. By far the best pool toy ever!!

This challenge was definitely one of the favorites of the day.

I LOVE all these teenagers. They were so patient and kind and inclusive to Perry and Layla. They cheered Perry on as he battled against Brighton. 

Perry was the winner!

After the challenge, I gave everyone just a few minutes in the pool. But then we kicked the losing team out and the winners got popsicles and some more pool team for themselves.

Backyard Survivor continued in another post soon!