This upfront game works best if you choose 2-3 girls, preferably middle school aged. Have them come up front and show them the bag/bowl of goldfish, yes, real live goldfish! Tell them that they are about to walk through the Goldfish Gauntlet. Fastest time wins!
On the floor, down front where everyone can see, have a plastic tarp spread out. Explain that the adult leaders are going to place the goldfish on the tarp and they must walk through it without stepping on and killing any of the goldfish. Further explain that the difficulty factor will go up because the adult leaders are going to blindfold the contestants. Because this is a timed event, you need to share with them that for every goldfish they kill, you are going to tack on 10 seconds to their time.
Have an adult leader begin to take out goldfish and place them on the tarp. At the very same time, have another adult leader begin to blindfold all three participants. Note: IT IS CRUCIAL THAT THIS HAPPENS VERY CLOSE TOGETHER AND IN THIS ORDER, SO AS TO NOT GIVE THE GAME AWAY, NOR KILL GOLDFISH.
As soon as you have the participants blindfolded, SILENTLY direct the crowd’s attention to the power point screen(s). Have instructions pointing out the fact that you are playing a joke on the contestants, AND you need their help. The pre-made screens will prompt them with phrases and directions like, “Whole crowd GASP!” “Oh my gosh!!” “Eeeewwwww!” “Ooooohhhhh!! Ahhhhhhh!!” Etc.
While the crowd is being given instructions, adult leaders are placing the live goldfish back in the bowl and replacing them with LOTS of canned mandarin oranges.
Have the first contestant step up to the start of the gauntlet. On your command, the participant begins to walk the gauntlet. Have music playing on the sound system. Have the crowd really hamming it up based on your slides. But most importantly, have adult leaders tossing/throwing mandarin oranges at the participants’ feet, simulating jumping goldfish. This is so much fun to watch.
A Few Notes:
- You may want to give the goldfish away at the end of the game. Ask parents first!
- Adult leaders REALLY make or break this game! You may even want to rehearse the timing and roles of this game to ensure that it comes off hilariously.
- This game should not end until someone is crying! Just kidding!!
Jonathan McKee is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Guy's Guide to FOUR BATTLES Every Young Man Must Face; The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices; If I Had a Parenting Do Over; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. He speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers on TheSource4YM.com. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.