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Castaway Critters – Kids Mystery Party

Castaway Critters Kids Mystery Party

Mystery Factory Kids Party Games
Easy for You
FUN for Kids !

A Kids Mystery Party In a PDF

Castaway Critters On Cougar Island will have your youngsters scrambling to save a shipwrecked boatload of adorable pets.

A dastardly villain has stolen the treasure that is desperately needed to pay for the pets’ passage to safety. 

The kids must find the culprit and then hunt for the treasure to save the critters. It’s an adventure party in a PDF, with all the instructions and printable clues you’ll need and plenty of ways to dress it up.


The Story

Captain Broadshoulders

It was a dark and stormy night. Thunder boomed and lightning crackled through the black night while a fierce wind hurled the SS Swashbuckler over the ocean. One minute the boat was teetering on top of a mountainous wave and the next second it crashed down into the foaming, churning waters below. Soon the Swashbuckler was smashed to bits on the coral reef surrounding Cougar Island.

Four passengers and their pets were washed ashore along with a few broken-up pieces of the Swashbuckler. Brave Captain Broadshoulders caught hold of the ship’s treasure chest and fought the storm as he swam to shore, pulling  the treasure chest with him.

For three months the castaways survived, guarding their pets from the cougars on the island. They built huts and tree houses from bamboo and reeds, with stakes to keep the cougars out. They ate sugar cane, coconuts, pineapples and other fruit that grew wild on the island. They went swimming in the tropical waters. Then one day they spotted a ship! Its captain would gladly take the stranded people, but he refused to take their pets unless he was well paid for it.

Filled with excitement, Broadshoulders ran to his secret cave. He could pay for the pets! The ship’s treasure chest contained valuable items that he could exchange for the critters’ safe passage home. Flinging open the lid he looked down upon… EMPTINESS! The treasure was stolen!

Which one of the other four castaways stole the treasure? Was it Princess Moon Pearl? One-Eye Cutlass the Pirate? Rita Rascal the Zoologist? Or Wild Weston the Cowboy? Where did the villain hide it? Will their pets be left to the mercy of the cougars? Time is running out!

Clue Hunt Mystery

Castaway Critters is two fun Gumshoe Detective Agency party games in one:

  • a Whodunnit, where your Gumshoes examine the Crime Scene for evidence and record it in their Casebooks. The evidence could be fingerprints, or candy wrappers, or anything else that does not belong at the scene of the crime. The thief is the only person who has left all four clues at the Crime Scene.
  • a Clue Hunt to find where the missing plunder has been hidden. Your Gumshoes get to chase down a series of puzzles to find the treasure.

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.

Print And Play – A Party In A PDF

Your instant download gives you all the tools and evidence you’ll need, plus detailed instructions on how it all goes together. Add some easily-found items and the party is ready.
Like any good party, it takes a bit of preparation. Give yourself a day to set it all up. Follow our Dress It Up suggestions to add even more to the decor. Or build your Gumshoes a tropical beach! There’s no limit to the fun you can have.

  • 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.
  • Use plastic buckets for loot bags, or put treats in a bottle a la ‘message in a bottle.’

Questions? All our parties come with free email support.
Check out the Gumshoe Detective Agency FAQ for more information.

Instant Download – Party On!

Your secure Paypal payment will bring you right to your Download page where the Castaway Critters PDF will be waiting for you. We’ll send you an email with the download link, too.

Tell Us – Tell A Friend

If you and your kids had fun, drop us a comment. Help other party planners out and tell your network!









  • Hi there,

    We are excited to use your Castaway Critter’s mystery for my daughter’s party in a couple of weeks. I read that you have scalable graphics for the mystery as well. Can you email those to me? Many thanks!

  • Hi there! I bought this one last year around this time, but for some reason can’t find it saved on my computer. Is there anyway to look up my account, so I can get it again without paying again. My kids loved it!!!

  • Hi there. I am trying to purchase one of your mystery parties for kids, castaway critters, but seem to be having trouble with payment acceptance. Are you set up to receive details from New Zealand?

    • Thanks for the heads up! We’ll look into it and if it is not fixed within 24 hours I can email you the pdf. I just noticed that your email has some numbers and letters after the NZ. Is that accurate? That might be the problem.

  • Hi, I can’t see a suggested age range, other than one reply that said this would be great for 8-9 year olds. I’m wondering if this would also work for 9-12 year olds? Thanks!

  • Hello,
    There are about 15 expected guests, maybe up to 20. We have not assigned any parts yet, but that may be something we do the day of the party. Can’t wait to play I think the children are going to love this game!
    Thank you
    Terrie Pierce
    P.S. not sure what HTML tags and attributes are for or how to use them 🙂

    • Hi Terrie!
      Everyone can be a pirate or a castaway of some kind, if you don’t want any kids playing the suspects. Of course teenagers or fun-loving adults make great villains if you have some around who want to participate.
      Just ignore those tags and attributes. I’m not sure what they are for either. The learning curve of building your on website is pretty steep and I’m new at it.

  • JRV,
    I’m thinking of a mystery party for my daughter who is turning 9. We are hoping to have 9 kids total, boys and girls ages 8 and 9. Is this mystery appropriate for that age and that number of kids? And if it is, how long do you estimate the mystery solving to last? Thanks

    • It’s the perfect age and number of kids for this mystery! How long the mystery last depends on a few different things. Average is 45 minutes to an hour for the two parts. The first part, Whodunnit, can go quickly or slowly depending on how well you hide the clue identifiers for the kids to find – and how big of an area you are hiding them over. The second part, Whereizit, depends on how many clues you create and how tricky they are. The package also comes with ready-made clues for you to use, which are fairly easy.

      All of our mysteries come with complete on-line support so if you purchase a Gumshoe Mystery we’ll guide you through any questions you have – but it’s a fairly straight forward setup and game. You can make the party last longer as well by playing some of the spy games listed on our free party games page. Thanks for your inquiry.

  • Thanks for your input Michele!

    Just to be clear for those who haven’t purchased the mystery yet, the clues for the ‘whodunnit’ portion are already set to go and it is only a matter of cutting them out and hiding them around your house or venue. The clues that people have to make up themselves are the clues that tell where in your particular venue the stolen item has been hidden.

    So I’m not quite sure what you mean by “You could simply do a clue for location of placement of scene and placement of hideout , being general.” It sounds like you are hiding the crime scene and the places where the suspect clues are put as well. Is this the case? That does sound fun but like a lot more work. When I do the mysteries I put up the Crime Scene in an area I’ve designated ‘Gumshoe Head Quarters’ or just on the most visible surface depending on the age of the players and then I have hidden the suspect clues all over the place; taped them under tables and chairs and like that, being sure to let the kids know that they don’t have to open any doors or drawers (if that is the case) to find them. I let the kids know the what room or rooms or area the clues are hidden in and then I turn them loose to run around and find the clues.

    Yes the carrot is in the middle of the flowers on the right hand side at the bottom. You might see it better in the line drawings of the scenes rather than the coloured versions. The carrot is upside down. It’s the ‘flower’ whose stem is ‘lacey’ rather than solid. I will definitely add an ‘answer guide’ – crime scenes with the clues circled. I will also come up with a list of items that can be included at the suspect hideouts if people wish to create suspect hideouts rather than just hide the clues. That’s great feedback and is much appreciated.

    Thank you for your valuable input. It sounds like a wonderful class!

  • JRV: I just purchased your mystery of castway critters and am using it for a class I will be teaching at a community center. I am very happy with purchase but do have a few creative suggestions to add to the packet. 1. It would have been nice to have some clue already premade so that those in a rush or those not creative could use them without having to spend time making them. I would have even paid more for this. You could simply do a clue for location of placement of scene and placement of hideout , being general.
    Also it might have been nice to include a list of suggested items to plant at the hideouts of each suspect. I formulated this list myself for my class. I also made some inclass labs to train the detectives first…. we are learning aobut tool impressions with playdough, cyphers and decoding messages, fingerprinting, and observation skills as well as evidence gathering. Just suggestions for those wanting to amp up the party some. Please don’t get me wrong, you have out a ton of work into this project and have done a wonderful job. One thing in the directions was also a little unclear to me, at first I couldn’t see the clues in the pictures. I was unclear about all that. Also I still to this day can not find the carrot in any of the crime scenes…. I am thinking maybe it is in the flowers by the fire ? However, when printing this it does not show up at all. If you could let me know where it is I would appreciate it. THank you so much for such wonderful material. I will look forward to new mysteries in the future.

  • From our Mystery Factory email box:
    We had the party on Saturday. I pulled it together in 1/2 a day! (which I totally don’t recommend!) Thanks for such a comprehensive resource!
    Tiffany in Colorado

  • I’m working on them as we speak. Is there a particular version you are interested in? Let me know and I’ll concentrate on that one. Will be a week or two then the first one will be up.

  • I think so. I’m just going to give it a quick once over. When it’s ready I’ll send you an invoice for $14.95 and if it is enough time before the party, then just pay it and I’ll send you the PDFs. Hope this works out for you. We also provide complete online support so if you have any questions feel free to contact me. Thanks for asking!

  • Hi Mrs. Violini,
    I desperately need this party for my daughter’s birthday that is next weekend. Is there any way I can receive it while you are updating? It would be perfect for her and is exactly what we are looking for her party.
    Thank you,

  • “Castaway Critters” can be played by any number of kids. Even one person could play it but that wouldn’t be as much fun as playing with friends. All of the kids are the detectives so there are no specific characters they are assigned to play. They all get to be other passengers who are shipwrecked on Cougar Island who are trying to find the thief who stole the treasure and save their pets – everyone should bring a stuffie or two to play the part of the pets.

    If you wish, you could assign the parts of the suspects to people, either kids or fun loving adults or teens who happen to be around and want to play along. There are four suspects: Moon Pearl – The Princess, One-Eye Cutlass – The Pirate, Rita Rascal – The Zoologist, and Wild Weston – The Cowboy.

    Your party download contains pictures that show the crime scene, a spot for each suspect and all the clues needed. You can use the pictures by themselves or supplement/replace them with actual items and decor. For instance since one of the clues found at the crime scene is some coins, you can use the picture of the coins or substitute actual coins – and like that.

    Only one person, who is probably you, needs to know what is going on as far as who the thief is because you will be following the instructions of how to set up the party. Instead of solving the mystery you get the satisfaction of watching the kids having fun.

    Please comment if you have any further questions – or comments. : )

  • Hi,
    How many kids is the “castaway critters” mystery game designed for? Are there specific character “castaways” the kids are assigned to play?

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