Survivor Birthday Party

Survivor Birthday Party

I’m not an expert on Survivor, but due to popular demand I’m going to roll with it. So, the idea is to make Louise’s birthday party Survivor-themed, and I’m going to throw myself right into it and come up with something not too far from perfection. Perfection is my thing.

I watched a recent series of Survivor to see what all the fuss was about and, shock horror, I fell in love with Joe. I really enjoyed watching him dominate in each of the challenges. My levels of enjoyment were then matched with deception when, nearing the end, the strong and handsome Joe was voted out for being too much of a threat. The tribe had spoken. What an anticlimax.

Obviously, I quickly became addicted, and I didn’t take much persuasion. So drawing from my experience of one season, I am going to give it a go, and tell myself that I, too, will be able to survive this. In reality, a birthday party is a bit like Survivor itself; a bit like a survival test. You must be confident, not mind getting hurt, have a mind of steel, have a strong team spirit, hide your strategy, throw out some unforgettable punchlines, be physically prepared, know how to withstand hunger, have a great sense of direction, not be scared of insects, be a bit like Mac Gyver, be popular, etc… And that is so me. I couldn’t describe myself any better.



T-25 I am ready, I have not missed a single episode, and I’ve even watched them on repeat. Louise’s 10th birthday is going to be Survivor themed. I’m close to telling myself that if I pass this trial-run, I will apply for Survivor itself. The only thing that worries me is packing my bag. But here we go, let’s get warmed up and get stuck in. We can deal with the bag later on.

T-25 CONTINUED I start with the invitations, as that seems to be the logical way to do things. I go for the handmade option, and I make them as if they were something out of Survivor. I write them, burn the paper and put them into little glass milk bottles, inviting the children to a trial. For the softies who are reading this, it is possible to skip this stage and just buy pre-made invitations, but that isn’t really in the Survivor spirit (just saying)! There is a dress code: fearless sportswear. The majority of birthday parties are now Frozen themed with Snow Queen outfits, so we have come up with the coordinated tracksuit instead!

T-20 It is 5 days later because I had set out 5 days to finish the invitations, making just over 2 per day. Yes, I do actually have a life besides Survivor. This is the 1st big challenge for Louise: Bringing these 12 glass bottles to school and giving them out, without breaking them of course!! And it is a test that she passes successfully. But that is expected, as she is my daughter. I’ll not talk you through this.

T-17 It’s time to come up with a plan of what you are going to do. If you are on this page, it means that you have decided to do everything yourself, and the good news is that the following list is thorough and runs through everything you’ll need, allowing you to make your own list.

T-15 Order or buy all of the supplies that you need, all depending on the games and activities that you’ve chosen. I’ll let you read through the plan for the day first…

T-10 Imagine what you would put in your rucksack if you were to enter Survivor yourself. I need to plan my outfit, which has got to liven up the party. After Joe, my idol is Jeff Probst. Some beige cargo shorts and a loose blue shirt with the sleeves rolled up. But that’ll do, not too much fuss. It’s almost too simple, but if it was up to me I would do a Frida Kahlo birthday, with the accessories included. I’m not sure that anyone will realise that I am dressed as him, but if I put on my best Jeff Probst accent, it’s bound to do the trick.

T-7 Prepare the playlist, print out the list of games and prepare the games themselves… I also practice how to imitate Jeff’s voice so that I can perfect my costume.

T-5 I’m going to take a little walk around the Boulogne forest and make a plan of the fitness trail. This is where all of the action will take place; it will be my island. I need to measure and find the place where the obstacle course will happen!!!

T-1 Tonight in my kitchen, I am preparing the rice cakes. I fill bowls with dry insects and prepare everything needed for the blind taste-test. I also make a chocolate cake and a sponge cake, because I’m not that harsh…

T-1 Still tonight – but now in my living room – I am making most of my Survivor-themed decorations. I stick tropical leaves on the walls so that it looks like a jungle. I inflate my balloons (the ones that only need air because I know all too well that you need to wait until the day of the party to inflate helium balloons). I use a range of green balloons to make it look even more like a jungle, and I make an arch that runs along the walls. I set the table because we will only go in there for snack time, and the snack will be a bit like the comfort reward. So I set the table, I use some coconuts as cups, and I put some shells on the table, as well as a snake and a horrible spider!!

Download the Forward planning


9:00AM I’ve already been on my feet for 2 hours. My daughter is still sleeping, and I think she might be hibernating, but maybe it’s just her age. It might actually be a good thing in terms of the challenges. I haven’t told her anything, because everything is top secret, just like in Survivor. I don’t want to give her a head-start against her friends, that would just be biased. And she might be disappointed, as she thinks that we might even be leaving in a helicopter to go to a crazy destination…

10:00AM We make the party bags. I get out all of my treasure: plastic lizards and snakes, a totem pole pencil, a champion’s medal and fruit-shaped sweets I make a few piles (one pile of sweets, one of gifts, one of paper bags) and fill them. It’s already a bit like organising the camp in Survivor (CLEAR STATE OF MIND…)

11:00AM I inflate the final balloons: The ones that need helium. I add a few exotic animals to my tropical wall: a parrot, a flamingo, a toucan… I attach them to balloon weights and let them float, I finish setting the table, I stick my candles into the cake and the palm-tree toppers into the indiviual rice cakes.

1:00PM We eat on the corner of the table, limiting ourselves space because it has already been set to perfection…

2.00PM We leave with all of the props that we need, because the meeting point is not at the house but at the fitness trail in the Boulogne forest. Once in the woods, I get out my props: 12 bandanas (6 red and 6 yellow: no, I wasn’t daring enough to make three teams), the totem (a pinata!!!!), a whistle, a bag with 12 marbles for making the teams (6 red and 6 yellow) and some black marbles for eliminating contestants during the pole balance challenge, two playmobile characters, face paint, a stopwatch (your phone will do the trick), relay equipment, two compasses, and two maps.

3:00PM They’re here! Let’s go. I welcome the children, and quickly put two coloured stripes on their cheeks with face paint (army/survival training/warrior style). The parents have never seen me so dressed up, and the cargo shorts/blue shirt combo leaves them open-mouthed. They are surprised, and they’re not sure that they get it. They’re not even sure that it’s me. All of the children have stuck by the dress code: they are all in coordinated sportswear, which will be perfect for the photographs.

3:01PM I quickly assume responsibility, because we don’t have any time to waste. They’re all here. I take a moment to introduce the theme of the afternoon: Survivor. So, everything will be done as it is on the show. We are going to do a range of challenges, but the only thing that will be different is that we won’t eliminate eachother, because we are going to mix Survivor and real life. Have you ever seen someone in real life eliminating their friend because they have failed a challenge. Really? Everyone is waiting in anticipation. We can finally start. Obviously, begin with a little “ARE YOU READY?”. Shouting is required ! If all goes to plan they should all yell back “YESSSSS!” together. I ask them to call me Jeff all afternoon, so that they know who is boss!!

3:05PM 1st challenge (for me): making the teams. Seeing as it is Survivor themed, I’m going to adapt the rules of Survivor. I ask them to line up facing me and take a marble from the bag, holding it firmly in their hands without showing anybody or looking at it. When everyone has their marbles, I ask them to open their hands one after another. Then, each child will receive a bandana in the colour of their team. Either red or yellow. Obviously, they will argue, moan and negociate. Why is there not a blue team? This sucks! I’m not with him, I’m not with her.

3:10PM I quieten everyone down and tell them that if they keep moaning like that, they will be banned from doing the survival challenges. And that it would be a good idea to be a little more strategic. All in my Jeff voice, of course. Now that we are all in agreement about the teams, they need to make up a name and a war cry. While they do this, do what Jeff does, by sitting down silently and crossing your legs. Observe everything and remember what could possibly be used in a Tribal Council!

3:20PM The first test will obviously be to make their huts, because how are you meant to survive without a roof over your head? So, each team should be supervised by an adult (if you have a twin Jeff, that would be great), and will make their hut within a certain amount of time. Let’s go: you have 10 minutes, and you can only use materials that you find in the woods (twigs, leaves, bits of wood… of course the Jeff in you will make sure that the children do not use any strange items: remember that we are in the Boulogne forest for those who can’t read between the lines)!! If you only have limited time, and it isn’t possible to make a real hut, you could send them on a hunt for their Playmobile figure instead.

3:30PM Time to inspect the huts. Thanks to Lili’s expertise, and my experience in surviving in extreme conditions and in diplomacy, there will be clear positives for both teams and a showcase of the strong points about each hut, assessing the ability of each team to withstand the rain, the storms and the insects! And the best hut will have the totem until the next trial!! The totem is in joint custody.

3:35PM A little warm-up to get everybody in the mood. Do the first 5 exercises of the fitness trail with a stopwatch. The best team wins the totem. If that is too fast, do 10! And, of course, have a little break between each part of the trail.

3:45PM Team relays. The best team wins the totem.

3:55PM A little obstacle course?!!! Try this one: You aren’t tired, are you? (In the voice of Jeff). And say that true explorers never complain: It’s all in your head so you just need a bit of courage!!! Attention! Are you ready? Lie down and do a crawling relay race. The first team wins the totem!!

4:05PM It’s time for the “bags” challenge. Are you hungry and thirsty? That’s annoying because we are only going to eat after the pole balance challenge, and snack time will be a bit like your comfort reward, if you know what I mean!!! For the bags, I would suggest a relay race on a soft surface, so that the chlidren don’t hurt themselves and don’t moan any more!

4:15PM It’s the moment you’ve all been waiting for!!! I have been waiting for it too! It’s time for the obstacle course!!! You will need to to get the two Playmobils from the hut activity earlier on. The first team to find the Playmobil wins the totem!

4:30PM To finish off, it’s time for the pole balance challenge!!! The good news is that in all of the fitness trails there are poles. Depending on the number of poles, you can determine the number of participants. If you don’t have enough for one each, do like they do in Survivor, and take out the marbles and ask them to choose again. Those who have the black marbles will not participate and encourage those who are taking part. Once on the poles, make the children change their pose every minute or so.

4:45PM You’re hungry? It is Survivor after all, you didn’t think it would be that easy and simple did you? Take your Jeff voice, sit down on a pole, crossing one of your legs and say to them: you have been perfect and awesome opponents for one another, you have been fine strategists. You all deserve a reward!! Let’s go home!

5:00PM Arrive at the house. When they pop their heads into the dining room, they cannot believe their eyes! It’s basically the jungle. It’s even hot, like in the jungle. Sit yourself down at a table. You deserve an island snack. There is strawberry juice, mountains of fruit, and a portion of rice (rice pudding) for everyone!!! (hehehehe). But before eating, there is one final challenge awaiting you! A blind taste-test and a sampling of insects!!

5:15PM You are good contestants, and I think that I can leave you with Joe and Jeff on an island. But first, there is normal food and some candles to blow out.

5:25PM To bring an end to this reward, do a little local dance! Like the broom game.

5:40PM Settle down for five minutes and do a little Cast Away/The Wild Life/The Island themed activity. You really believe that you could survive alone on a desert island? Even Tom Hanks couldn’t do it, and that’s saying something. You don’t know who Tom Hanks is????? No, but seriously, do you know anything else other than Survivor and The Voice? We’re going to make your own little Wilson and it can go home with you. Therefore, if you feel lonely tonight, if you miss me for example, you will have a friend!

5:55PM It’s time to reunite everybody! You can now take off your bandanas!! We’re going to smash up the totem (the pinata, for those who are lost)!

6:00PM And to finish: the presents! Play the game poor little sick cat to guarantee lots of laughter.

6:05PM The parents arrive. Normally they are as punctual in picking their children up as they were dropping them off. If everything goes as planned, just like with your outfit, they won’t be able to believe their eyes at the jungle, and also the state of their children!

6:30PM You can go and lie down. Because obviously you have followed our advice and you haven’t planned dinner for this evening.

8:00PM A new lease of life after napping? You have survived a survival training session! That calls for a dress, heels and a bit of makeup! Shall we go out for a drink?


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