When I started planning my young adult programs for my first semester, I had big plans for several of them, but I knew that I would want something fun to kick off the fall semester that wouldn’t be as time-intensive as some of the other programs I was planning so that I could prepare them in a timely fashion. So, I searched a few library blogs and stumbled upon Rad Books for Rad Kids and their Minute to Win It Program. I had never seen the show, but it certainly looked like something that would fit what I was looking for and that my teens would enjoy. So, I decided to give it a whirl.
I chose to do the following games:
- Breakfast Scramble: Players reassemble a cereal box cover cut into 20 identical pieces.My teens enjoyed this game. I cut up two boxes, one they would all be familiar with and one they might not be so they could choose the more complicated challenge or the easier version.
- A Bit Dicey: Players hold a craft stick in their mouth and stack six dice on it. Once balanced, they must hold it for three seconds (or five if you want to make it more difficult).
- Play It By Ear: Using only their senses of hearing and touch, players will place bottles/cans in order from left to right in order from the one with the fewest pennies inside (5) to the one with the most pennies inside (40).
I’m not going to lie, this game was hard for me to run. If I would have had a helper, it would have worked, but I had to time the challenge, tell them if they got it right while under the same time limit they were (because I was the only one who knew the code I’d placed on the bottom of the bottles to know how many pennies each contained), and answer any questions other players not working on this game might have during that minute. So, keep that in mind if you choose to do this game. In addition, choose a hard code to crack. I taped letters to the bottom of my bottles that spelled a word when they were in the right order. The teens spent most of the program trying to crack my code to cheat. No one did because it wasn’t in English, so get really creative with it to deter cheating. Incidentally, not one teen completed this particular game within the time limit.
- Face the Cookie: Using only the muscles in their face, players must move a cookie (or if you want it to be harder, two cookies) placed on their forehead into their mouth.
- Defying Gravity: Using only their hands (or one hand if you want to make it harder), players must keep three balloons in the air for a minute.
This one is harder than it seems because only a few of my teens managed to complete this challenge.
- This Blows: Players must inflate a balloon and use only the air inside it to knock 10-15 cups off a table. They can inflate the balloon as many times as they wish within their sixty seconds, but they can only use the air inside it to accomplish their task.
For this one, because it had to be reset between every attempt, I put a line of colored dots on the table to mark where the cups should go so that it was uniform for each player.
- Moving On Up: Players will move a differently colored cup from the bottom of a stack of 39 similar colored cups to the top moving only one cup at a time and using alternating hands.
- Stack Attack: Players must stack 36 cups into a pyramid and dismantle the pyramid moving diagonally to return the cups to their original stack all in sixty seconds.
- Keep It Up: Using only their breath, players must keep two feathers in the air for sixty seconds.
We quickly determined that this challenge was impossible after first moving around the room to find a place to attempt it that was far enough away from vents. No one completed this challenge, not even me after the teens insisted I try.
- Elephant March: Players must knock over two lines of bottles using only a baseball inside the leg of a pair of pantyhose worn over their head.This one is fairly easy. I think there were only two teens that didn’t complete it. One was because she refused to attempt it and mess up her hair, but that is something to keep in mind for the teen girls.
If you’re unfamiliar with the show, as I was, here’s how it works. Each player starts out with three lives. They can lose these lives by failing to complete a challenge within the time allotted or by violating the rules of the challenge (i.e. using their hands in “Face the Cookie”). After they lose all three of their lives, they’re out. For each challenge they complete, they get the points for that round which goes as follows:
- Level 1 = 1,000
- Level 2 = 2,500
- Level 3 = 5,000
- Level 4 = 10,000
- Level 5 = 50,000*
- Level 6 = 75,000
- Level 7 = 125,000
- Level 8 = 250,000
- Level 9 = 500,000
- Level 10 = 1,000,000
My program was organized like the game show, and that’s the reason I chose only ten challenges for the teens to complete to give them the correct number of levels. When a player completes level 5, they are guaranteed 50,000 points no matter what happens after. Even if they lose all their lives, they will end with 50,000 points. Before that point, if they lose all their lives, they walk away empty-handed.
I assigned each pair (one teen to time and one teen to complete the challenge) a challenge with which to begin. I gave everyone a scorecard and had them write down the name of their challenge in the level 1 box. Then, when they completed their attempt, they would come to me and get a circle stamp (for completed) or an X stamp for a failed attempt. I would also cross off one of their lives on the bottom of the scorecard at that point, if needed. Then, they would have a second attempt if they had failed or move on if they had completed it to the next challenge and move clockwise around the room until they lost all their lives, elected to quit with the points they currently had in between challenges (not in between attempts of a challenge), completed all the challenges, or we ran out of time in our hour-long program.
This quickly fell apart when I realized A) almost all my teens had lost their three lives in the first ten minutes of the program and B) I had to be in 20 places at once to take pictures, time challenges when needed, run the “Play It By Ear” challenge, stamp everyone’s scorecards, and record who currently had the highest score on the whiteboard. Again, if I would have had a helper, this program would have run perfectly.
So, we threw the lives out the window and just awarded points for any challenges they managed to complete in the time given. So that if one teen finished one challenge, they got 1,000 points; if another finished three, they got 5,000; and so on. It didn’t matter in what order they completed them or how many times they failed. I also let them keep track of their failures and successes on their scorecards because their partners who were timing them were keeping them honest about their failures and successes.
In the end, our winner had 75,000 points while the runners-up had about 5,000 each. I must remind you that these challenges seem simple, but they are hard!
If you choose to do a Minute to Win It program, keep in mind you’ll need stopwatches for this program. I was lucky enough to be able to borrow several from friends, but we had to get a bit creative and use the library’s iPad for one stopwatch because they are so expensive. I only provided about five stopwatches for the teens to use.
I only spent about $4 all told for this program because the library or friends or family had most of the materials lying around. I only had to buy cookies and balloons. For that $4, I’d say I had a very successful program since I literally had to shepherd the teens out the door when our time was up. They wanted to keep trying all the challenges until they beat them. I had several of them beg me to include it in the lineup for next semester.