The second installment of my daughter’s birthday is here! Thanks for your tremendous response to the photo booth idea with which we started off her 10th birthday celebrations. My daughter is a big fan of the famous girl detective Nancy Drew just like her mom. She reads the ‘Nancy Drew and the Clue Crew’ series written for younger kids and I have the real series waiting for her when she is old enough to read them.
Like all kids her age, she wants to solve mysteries and open her own detective agency. On her very special 10th birthday, I gave her a chance to do just that!
The second half of the birthday party had a mystery twist and my daughter and her friends got to solve a real life mystery by solving clues. Read on for the mystery and my clues. Feel free to modify them and use them for your own mystery party!
Note: It was difficult to follow the kids around the house so some pictures might be missing but I will walk you through my clues and try to describe each clue to my best 🙂
The Party Continues…
Once the kids were done having their pictures clicked with every prop they could use, we cut the yellow, pink and blue (the chosen colors) cake.
Since the theme was a big secret, the cake was not done in the theme or it would give away the surprise. After the cake was cut and the kids had dinner, it was time to give away the party favors or Return Gifts. But wait…
We Have a Mystery!
The big yellow box labeled ‘Return Gifts’ which was prominently placed so as to attract every possible attention, contained a mystery. On opening the box, the kids found … guess what? Not the gifts, but a note – from Captain Crook!
Here is what it said:
I used a cool tool to make this ransom letter. Don’t bother cutting up words from the newspaper! Check out http://www.ransomizer.com/ and make your own note. It’s free to use!
The ransom note gave the kids their first clue to find their missing return gifts.
Finding the first clue will puzzle you
but you have no time to lag
Put on our thinking caps and
Look for the pieces in your detective bag
But before they could begin, they needed their detective bags. I provided them with their own bags.
I found these bags at FirstCry.com and labeled them with ‘The Clew Crew’ labels that I printed on my computer. Each bag contained:
- Thinking Cap (Custom printed caps from Printvenue with ‘The Clew Crew’ printed on them)
- ‘Clues’ Notebook (Notepads with ‘Clues’ labeled on them)
- Mini Flashlight
- Candy Bars
- The birthday girl’s detective bag had a Magnifying glass which was a special gift for her.
Now each clue required team work so that the little ones at the party could also be involved. So the first clue needed something from all bags. I had written the next clue on the back of a completed jigsaw puzzle, then put one piece of the puzzle in each bag. The kids had to find all the pieces, complete the puzzle and turn it over to read the next clue!
One Clue Leads to the Other
Here, they solved the jigsaw puzzle clue. The next clue that they found written on the back was:
It has lots of numbers all over
And you come running when it rings,
You will find your 2nd clue there
or lose all your precious things.
I don’t have pictures for these, but they figured out the ‘telephone’ and found the next clue there.
Cupcakes are delicious
but not all are meant to eat
The one in your little kitchen
holds your special treat.
Now you will have to modify these clues for things around your house. In this case, my daughter owns a cupcake-shaped necklace box that is now a part of her play things and sits inside her toy kitchen. Not just the birthday girl, but the other guests who are her regular playmates, knew the cupcake box and the ‘little kitchen’ so they guessed it pretty quickly. Inside the box was the next clue:
Ah! Your little detectives are quick!
I thought you would miss this trick!
You enjoyed melting the frozen hearts
Go again to where it’s very cold
Go ice crazy like Elsa
to Watch your next clue unfold
Like I mentioned, the guests are all regulars at all my parties. Now this note refers to my daughter’s 9th birthday party which was a ‘Frozen’ theme party. A favorite game in that party was recovering plastic hearts from inside ice cubes. The kids understood that this referred to ice and they looked in the freezer where the next clue was waiting for them. In a large baking tray, I had frozen the next clue – a sheet of paper wrapped carefully in a ziplock bag.
The kids melted the ice using the water in the kitchen sink and recovered the plastic. After drying their hands (keep towels handy if you plan to do something like this), they took out the note from the plastic bag to read their next clue.
It has four legs
and is strong enough to hold a person
But you also use it make a fort
Your next clue is taped to its bottom
A Chair! The kids looked under all chairs and found an envelope taped under one dining table chair. It contained the next clue:
Your next clue waits in something that:
When rumbles and tumbles,
When it swishes and rinses,
clean things appear.
But that is not how the kids saw it. What they saw was:
Looks like all kids of this age are mystery buffs. They quickly realized it was a mirror image and ran to the nearest mirror. Holding the message before it, they read the clue and figured out that the next clue was in the washing machine.
A single, colorful sock waited inside the washing machine, holding the next clue:
Teamwork is important
As good detectives you knew
Your candy bar wrappers
Hold the next clue
Team work again! Remember the detective bag contents had candy bars in them? All of these had to be opened. Each contained one word of a sentence. The kids had to collect all these, match the pieces and form the next clue:
Books of a famous Girl Detective
Inspire this show
The ‘Hidden Window Mystery’
Will tell you where to go
Nancy Drew to the Rescue!
The famous detective is Nancy Drew, of course. The kids ran to my daughter’s bookshelf and looked for book ‘The Hidden Window Mystery’ in the Nancy Drew section.
Waiting in an envelope inside the said book was the next clue, which was written in such a small font that it was impossible to read it!
Time for the birthday girl to use her magnifying glass! Using it, the kids read the clue:
It’s time to walk out of your comfort zone
and climb up one step at a time
Only the bravest of you will find,
The next clue at Step number 9
With this, the kids walked out of the house and climbed the stairs to the terrace, using their flashlights to illuminate the path. Their, on Step 6, I had placed the last clue in an envelope. To make things scarier, I used some fake cobwebs from my Halloween decorations to cover the envelope and even added a glow-in-the-dark plastic skeleton figure!
The clue read:
The cobwebs didn’t scare you
And it’s time to turn around
Flash your light about you
There’s your prize to be found!
Turning around, on the top of the stairs, their flashlights showed them the ‘stolen prizes’!
Taped on to the black bag was Captain Crook’s final note:
You’ve done it…You found it
And made everyone proud!
I hope you are yelling
and Cheering out Aloud
I guess it’s time for me to
say goodbye to the crime scene
There’s no place for a crook like me
Now that the Clue Crew is so keen!
The kids were overjoyed to defeat ‘Captain Crook’ and recover the return gifts (which were different mystery books for each guest, depending upon their ages). The kids finally got to solve a real (well, almost!) mystery and I had phone calls coming in from their mommies all week that are busy playing detectives around the house!
It was a great party and I hope my clues have helped inspire you for your own mystery party. Do share the details of your party in the comments below 🙂
About the Author
Lata Tokhi is an Indian mommy of three and blogs about her parenting experiences, theme parties and passion for homemaking at Fabulous Mom Life.