Everything You Need!
The Gumshoe Detective Agency mystery party games for kids are adventure parties in a PDF. You get everything you need to run the game – Scenario, Clues, Detective Handbooks, and easy to follow instructions. Each PDF even includes a fun and educational facts page. We believe in learning while you play.
Download the Kids Mystery Party of your choice – Castaway Critters, Hobo Hullabaloo, or Fossil Furor. Print out everything you need. Follow the step-by-step instructions. Add some easy to find items for more fun. Use our Dress It Up suggestions, and our Free Kids Party Tips, to give your kids a WOW experience. Remember to give yourself time to gather what you need and set it all up.
Read your Gumshoes the Scenario, give them their Detective Handbooks, and stand back! Once it is set up the game runs itself. Don’t be surprised if things get quiet – that’s the sound of active, engaged minds at work.
Q: Do I really have everything I need for a kid’s party?
A: You have everything you need to play one of the Gumshoe Detective Agency scenarios. Loot bags, birthday cake, and party prizes, etc are up to you. Our packages give you the ability to have a great party using only the PDF or you can also upgrade it a little or a lot, as you wish. One example of this is that you can substituting the picture clues, of a chocolate bar, for instance, with a real chocolate bar.
Q: How long does it take to set up the party game?
A: This is a two part question because each Gumshoe Detective Agency package includes two different kinds of games. You can play them together or separately. The first is a ‘Whodunnit’ in which the detectives figure out who committed the crime. The second part is a ‘Whereizit’ that can be added on; this is where the culprit also hide something that the players want to find. Usually it’s the party loots bags or some kind of treasure where there is an item for each player to take home.
For the ‘Whodunnit’, if you are just using the PDF you’ve purchased it will take one or two hours to print, cut and tape the clues around your house. You also need to staple the Detective Handbooks together. Naturally it will take a bit longer if you are substituting actual items from the paper ones because you will have to gather the items. If you are using any of the Dress-It-Up suggestions; that will add more time depending on how fancy you get. Setting up a mystery can turn into a big party itself if you and your kids want to draw, paint or arrange hideouts for each of the suspects. One little PDF can inspire a week long event.
For the ‘Whereizit’, the set-up time depends on what kind and how many clues you use. We give you easy instructions on creating the clues but we can’t give you specific clues because we don’t know where you’re going to hide something, what your place is like and other things that are unique to your party. Making up and hiding clues can take anywhere from half an hour, if you are using two or three simple clues to all day if you are creating an elaborate and twisted trail. And any amount of time in between, of course.
Q: What age of children can play the mystery?
A: On average the party is good for kids age 7 to 12 years old, although it really depends on the individual child. Younger kids also have fun hunting down the clues because you don’t really have to be able to read to play. We’ve also noticed at our own Gumshoe parties that the dads like to ‘help out’ as their kids search for suspects, clues and visit the crime lab.
Q: How long does it take to play?
A: The ‘Whodunnit’ part of the party is usually between between half an hour and an hour. If you add the ‘Whereizit’ it could take between an hour and two hours, depending on how hard you hide the clues and the size of space you have to play in. If you want to add more time or are planning activities for a weekend camp-out, family reunion, or a larger event, check out our FREE Kid’s Party Games and pick out some additional detective/spy activities for the kids to play.
Q: How much space do I need?
A: It’s easy to have a ‘Whodunnit’ party in a small space. Simply hang the included Crime Scene and Suspect pictures on the wall and stick the clues around them. If you have a medium size space you can set up small tableaus on table tops. Four characters and a crime scene means you need five table tops. This can be a great pre-party activity for the week before the Mystery. If you have an auditorium or larger space at your disposal then you can decorate bigger spaces with life size props. The ‘Whereizit’ can be done in a small space as well if you hide clues in places such as inside of a book or under a couch cushion. The only real consideration is that if the final item is large, such as a box of loot bags, you don’t want the detectives to accidentally come across it ahead of time.
The Gumshoe Detective parties are excellent and a ton of fun just as they are. For even more fun add an extra dimension to the party by having your guests come in costume or bring an ‘accomplice’ to the party. Here’s some suggestions. For more details, like the recipe for hobo bread, please email us: jrv(at)mysteryfactory.com
Turn Castaway Critters into a ‘stuffie’ party by having your young guests bring along their favorite stuffed animal to the adventure. Their pets can be the ones which must be saved or they can help rescue others by finding the stolen treasure! If it’s summer, put up a plastic wading pool in the back yard and finish up with a pool party or water balloon dodge ball.
Turn Hobo Heist into a sleep over by having your guests bring their overnight items in a hobo bindle and their sleeping bags to camp-out in a hobo jungle. Begin the party by making hobo bread in a can and cook it in your oven while the kids track down clues! It will be butter melting hot and yummy by the time they find the stolen dynamite! Make the snack complete with Hobo Apples – an apple with the core removed and filled with peanut butter.
Turn Fossil Furor guests into amateur paleontologists by hiding tiny toy dinosaurs around the home and/or yard for the sleuths to discover after they have found the stolen fossil. You could also hide heat resistant items baked in a mix of flour, salt, water and coffee grinds (for the colour and texture) so that the kids will need to bust them open to discover their own fossil inside.
Replace some of our paper clues with the actual items; pictures of candy, with real candy (make sure no one eats the evidence before the mystery is solved), pictures of coins, with real coins, pictures of keys with real keys and like that.
Create hideouts and a crime scene. We give you pictures to use but you can dress them up by making them part of a diorama or staged area. Turn a corner into the Gumshoe Detective Agency and place the crime scene picture there. Let the kids or birthday child build forts out of cushions and blankets to place some or all of the suspect clues in.
Dress up dolls to represent the suspects – or get willing adults to play the roles. They can sit in their hideouts and give silly answers to all the questions they are asked. The clues are all pictures or items and that’s what the mini detectives need to crack the case so it doesn’t really matter what the characters say.
Decor can be added on each of the themes. For Castaway Critters a sandy beach with palm trees, exotic birds and pirate paraphernalia will set the mood. For Hobo Heist you can add all kinds of train and railroad related pictures and items and/or a hobo jungle with make-shift tents or lean-toos and a campfire. For Fossil Furor you can go with cave man and dinosaur decor or the inside of a museum with lots of cool exhibits, microscopes, etc.
If you are really gun-ho, play themed sound effects in the background. Wild bird and animal calls for Castaway, train whistles and rumbles for Hobo and dinosaurs stomping through the bushes and assorted squawks and shrieks for Fossil.
REMEMBER . . . the more fun you put into it, the more fun your gang will get out of it! Enjoy playing the party host to an awesome event!
Need Help? No Problem!
We’ve run these games countless times, and there is no question we can’t answer. Just email us at jrv(at)mysteryfactory.com and we’ll help you along. Your Gumshoe Mystery Party purchase includes unlimited support and enthusiasm. We think the grown-ups should have at least as much fun as the kids! Making your child’s party into an unforgettable childhood memory is one of our fondest wishes.