The second instalment of the exciting new Crystal Maze spin-off – The PARENT Maze. Here’s what happens in the Toddler zone. If you missed the first exciting episode, catch up on the original premise and the Baby Zone games here.
1. Bedtime ninjas
You’re stuck in a dark room, rigged with boobie traps, squeaky toys and even squeakier floorboards. You have to escape without waking the toddler, who has taken 4 stories, 2 nappy changes, a drink, a snack, endless cuddles, 3 hours, 23 lullabies and extravagant bribes to get to sleep in the first place. If you do make a noise you must flatten yourself to the floor or blend with the shadows to avoid line of sight. Failure will result in being locked in this hell for at least another 4 hours.
Playdate Chinese whispers
Two player game. You’re both strapped onto a giant wheel each. As these turn, you will get to exchange snippets of random conversation, during which you are required to convey key grown-up information not related to childcare, parenting or bodily functions. (!!!!!!)
You are whipped apart constantly as the wheels go round, and must solve (on the move) challenges like stopping a small child eating crap off the floor, kissing bumped body parts better, attempting to consume your own beverage, breaking up fights over toys and sharing, and explaining at length why we don’t throw and/or why we don’t ride the cat.
If player 2 can accurately recall and repeat the information from player 1 after 300 rotations, you’ll be let out of the room.
You must pack 4 bags in 4 minutes to unlock the door. A pile of crap is in the middle of the room, and there are 4 scenarios you have to pack for. The first is a park trip on a slightly rainy Autumn day, with a six month old and a toddler. The second is a summer picnic with two pre-schoolers, with the addition of possible water play. The third is a Sunday dinner at Grandma’s with a newborn and a toddler. The fourth is friend’s wedding, 200 miles away, with a baby and a travel-sick 5 year old.
Failure to remember the requisite number of nappies, costume changes, wipes, nappy bags, snacks, drinks, entertainments and specialist equipment will result in lock-in.
‘Helpful’ advice can be provided by team mates, who will stand by impotently and ask occasionally what you’re getting so stressed about – very much like your other half in daily domestic packing scenarios.
You are given instructions to retrieve a specific and previously unfavoured toy, probably from a party bag or MacDonalds meal 8 months previously, which you fear you might possibly have binned in a midnight toy-cull, from an undisclosed location, on pain of massive freaking toddler meltdown. The door unlocks to reveal a room that looks essentially like a bomb has gone off in a toy shop (or like one child has been left to play unsupervised while you take a shower for approximately 4 whole bloody minutes). 2 minutes on the clock. Good luck.
A logic (HAH!) game of trial, error and elimination. You have various ingredients at your disposal, including ham, cheese, cream cheese, jam, white and brown bread. You have 3 minutes. You must create and arrange your sandwich on the correct colour plate, with the correct crust/no crust choice, cut into the correct square/triangle/finger shape. This must be rushed to a dumb waiter and hoisted up to receive judgement. (Rumour has it the guest toddler for this game is the equally fictitious and capricious progeny of the Banker from Deal or No Deal).
From what comes back – including the screaming – you must deduce what changes you need to make. If more than half of the food is consumed and not mangled, mashed or thrown, the key to unlock the door is released, possibly to a chorus of angels hailing a miracle.
Return to work game
This one probably straddles the baby and toddler zones. The returnee is thrown into a room with 3 minutes on the clock. Here they must dig through piles of clothes to find something vaguely work-worthy. Obviously the clothes are all 1 to 2 sizes too small, require guerilla-ironing, and look shit – as undoubtedly the team mates looking on will inform them. They must then achieve some sort of actual hairstyle (messy mum-buns won’t cut it), find proper footwear (possibly even with a heel), pluck eyebrows and perform other personal deforestation exercises, locate jewellery AWOL for the last 9-18 months, apply foundation over their eye-bags – and then add layer of mascara and a bit of ancient lip gloss.
Next, they must run the gauntlet of sticky hands, toothpaste and snot hurled at them randomly on their way to the exit. All stains must be 80% removed with a baby wipe before the host – David Tennant or Stephen Merchant – can open the door. The whole game is played to a soundtrack of separation-anxiety howling.
Find out more about the next zone – Pre-school Zone – here!