Hosting a Jeopardy! game show party for kids

Our sweet Jack is soon to turn 10, and this year he, as ardent a Jeopardy! fan as his father, requested a Jeopardy! game show for his birthday party.

As was the case when he turned 5 and was hell-bent on a police-themed fiesta, I came up short when searching online for ideas. "Police party" yielded scantily clad women and bondage materials, and Jeopardy simply brought me to Wii games and the official website.

Tom and I thought about making a paper board but quickly realized just how much work that would be AND incorporating the Jeopardy! music and anything like audio and visual clues would be tough.

A Google search lead us to this fabulous Jeopardy Game PowerPoint template into which you type your categories, answers, and questions. It allows you to upload audio and visual files (helpful for categories like "Name That Tune" and "Famous People" identification) and have Daily Doubles. We were able to Air Drop this entire thing live to our TV (via Air Drop/Apple TV) for a real-time game show experience. 

We had a blast thinking up all the categories, answers, and questions that would resonate with Jack and his friends, and I'd like to send a special shout-out to one of the kids' 4th grade teachers who not only led them through a study of Chinese culture, language, topography and history this year but also sent me the China category clues. 

 Single Jeopardy; below, one answer/question from the China category.

Single Jeopardy; below, one answer/question from the China category.

 Double Jeopardy (we couldn't figure out how to double the monetary amounts); below, an answer/question from Star Wars, and a "Famous Person" visual clue.

Double Jeopardy (we couldn't figure out how to double the monetary amounts); below, an answer/question from Star Wars, and a "Famous Person" visual clue.

We made three contestant podiums out of TV trays and a table, white newsprint, and blue posterboard. Easy and inexpensive as we already had the TV trays and borrowed a small table from Tom's mom. The posterboard came from a local party store and the newsprint was leftover from our move.

Because we were to have three teams of three players each, Jack created single "contestant" names by picking his favorite elements. I do not know why two of them are radioactive and horrible, but I'll chalk that up to #boys. The newsprint was great because it protected the tables, gave me something other than the tables to affix the posterboard to, AND the kids could right their Final Jeopardy wagers and answers directly on it, much like real Jeopardy! contestants do.

 two of the three podiums with buzzers

two of the three podiums with buzzers

I bought these battery-powered buzzers on Amazon for $16. Made by Learning Resources, the pack comes with four buzzers, each of which lights up a different color and makes a different sound, two features that I knew would be helpful in determining which team buzzed in first. The kids thought they were terrifically fun.

Tom was Alex Trebek, and had it not been 90 degrees here, he would have worn a suit to more closely resemble the host. I suggested we powder his hair to "go gray," but sadly, he declined. His podium was a box with a Jeopardy! print-out taped on yet another piece of newsprint.

Mom got roped into being a contestant, and Tom's mom kept score while Tom hosted and I filmed the whole thing. The kids were awesome, and the whole thing was hilarious. Plutonium ended up winning by betting bravely in Final Jeopardy.

Then we grilled burgers and hot dogs, served bowls of gumbo and watermelon, and wrapped things up with chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwiches. All in all, a GREAT way to celebrate a birthday!